What Are Cavities?
A cavity is a hole in the tooth that can grow bigger and deeper as time passes. If left untreated, they can allow the passage of bacteria into the central areas of the teeth. That can cause extensive damage and infection.
What Causes Cavities?
A cavity is caused primarily caused by bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria use food particles, especially sugar, to multiply. In time, they cover the surface of teeth and cause decay.
What Are the Symptoms of Cavities?
Most cavities do not have any symptoms in the early stages. They can often persist for months without any noticeable effect. Because cavities are often hard for a person to detect, it is imperative to see a dentist on a regular basis.
Once cavities have advanced, they have a variety of symptoms. Spontaneous tooth pain, which may come and go or worsen with chewing, is the most common. Affected teeth may also become more sensitive to heat and cold.
What Are the Risk Factors of Cavities?
The two principal risk factors of cavities are a diet high in sugary foods and infrequent brushing and flossing. Flossing is essential since cavities can appear between the teeth, not only among the visible surfaces.
What Are the Complications of Cavities?
Over time, cavities can become severe enough to threaten the internal pulp of the tooth. Nerves may also be affected. In some instances, an infection may develop in the tooth and spread to the jawbone and elsewhere in the body.
What Are Tips to Prevent Cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is to brush your teeth daily. You should aim to brush your teeth in the morning, in the evening, and after meals. Flossing will remove food particles that might otherwise go unnoticed and growth of bacteria.
If you want to take additional steps, there are other things you can do at home. Antibacterial mouthwash can help most people protect their teeth against cavities. Chewing sugarless gum helps your mouth produce more saliva, which is a natural neutralizing agent that protects teeth.
Since saliva is a vital factor, maintaining adequate hydration can actually help the health of your teeth. Drink plenty of water all throughout the day to encourage adequate saliva production. Talk to your doctor if you notice symptoms of dry mouth.
What Foods Should Be Avoided to Prevent Cavities?
To prevent cavities, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat. Acidic foods such as orange juice and coffee produce a temporary weakening of surface enamel. If you want to minimize any risks associated with this, use a straw to drink these beverages.
Sugary snacks, such as candy and soda, are other major culprits of developing cavities. You can continue to indulge in these foods in moderation, but you should be especially careful to brush your teeth soon after every high-sugar meal.
When Should I See a Dentist for Cavities?
Since cavities might not present symptoms for long periods of time, seeing your dentist once or twice a year is the best way to diagnose and treat any cavities you are not aware of yet.
If you suspect you have a cavity, make an appointment today or call our office at 860-667-2600. At Cedar Mountain Dental, our team is committed to providing high-quality care for all your dental needs.