Is your dental check-up coming up? Though you brush your teeth twice a day, you may still be worried that your dentist will find a cavity. Tooth cavities are one of the most common health problems around the world. Though they are fairly common, they can also be quite dangerous when left untreated. Before your appointment, it’s helpful to learn more about cavities, their causes, and how they are treated. Use the guide below to learn everything that you need to know.
What Is a Cavity?
Cavities are holes that develop in your teeth, starting out small and becoming larger over time (if they’re not treated). They are also known as tooth decay. Anyone, including infants, can develop tooth decay, even if they believe they have a good oral hygiene routine. Since they do not usually cause pain when they first appear, many people do not realize that they have a problem until it becomes much worse. Getting regular check-ups at an office of family dentistry in Carmichael, CA, like Now Dental, can help to detect issues early.
There are a few common symptoms that can arise when you have a cavity. These indications include:
- Tooth pain
- A noticeable hole in a tooth
- Tooth sensitivity
- White or black staining on your teeth
Tooth Decay Sources
Plaque causes tooth cavities to form. Plaque is a sticky substance made of saliva, bacteria, acid, and food that sticks to the teeth. Every mouth is home to bacteria. When you eat or drink something with sugar in it, the bacteria turn the sugar into acid, which becomes plaque. Plaque begins to form as soon as your drink or eat sugary foods. It sticks to your teeth and, over time, will cause the tooth enamel to erode. The enamel is the coating on your teeth that guards them against decay. When the enamel erodes and becomes weaker, you are more likely to develop cavities.
If you have teeth, you are at risk of developing cavities. However, some people have a higher risk than others. This includes those with poor oral health habits, people who consume a lot of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, and those who don’t get enough fluoride. Other risk factors include dry mouth, acid reflux disease, and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.
There are a few different methods that dentists use to treat and repair cavities. During your next appointment, be sure to mention any symptoms you are experiencing like pain or tooth sensitivity. The dentist will then perform an oral exam and X-rays to determine if you are experiencing tooth decay. The recommended treatment option will depend on the severity of the cavity. Treatment options include early-stage fluoride treatment, tooth fillings, crowns, and root canals.
When it comes to cavities, prevention is always better than expensive dental treatments. You can work to prevent tooth decay from occurring by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, and visiting your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings. You should also limit snacking between meals and cut down your intake of sugary and acidic foods like candy, soda, juice, and refined carbs. Some foods can also combat tooth decay. These include calcium-rich foods, fruits and veggies that are full of fiber, water with fluoride, unsweetened black or green tea, and xylitol sugarless chewing gum.
If you believe you have a cavity or you just want to be schedule a check-up, contact us at Now Dental today!