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Posted on: September 24, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice For Everyone
Brushing and flossing your teeth can seem like just another tedious task to complete before you collapse into bed at night, but it’s actually an integral part of your good overall health. Research has shown a correlation between good oral health and good physical health. Poor oral health has been linked to serious health issues such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and several types of cardiovascular disease. Learning the causes of cavities and gum disease can be the best method for ensuring that you have good oral health so that your physical health is the best it can be.
A cavity is a hole in the tooth that can entrap bacteria and food particles. Together, they work to start decay and form acids that erode your tooth enamel. When not treated and removed, the bacteria causes plaque and decay. When your tooth enamel has been eroded by plaque and acids, then you’ll likely develop a cavity.
When cavities are detected and treated while they’re small, then a simple filling is usually sufficient to restore functionality to the tooth. However, if a cavity isn’t treated, then your Arlington dentist may need to perform a root canal and install a crown on the tooth, particularly if the decay has reached the pulp and started an abscess.
What’s the Best Way to Prevent Cavities?
A regimen of good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent cavities. No matter how tired you are at night or how rushed you are in the morning, make it a habit never to skip your oral hygiene regimen. It’s much easier to prevent cavities than it is to address them once they have developed, especially if a cavity has abscessed.
Untreated cavities can also start the process of gingivitis or periodontal disease, which can cause you to lose all your teeth. Although the American Dental Association has published guidelines for the best oral hygiene, the following tips can help you prevent cavities and gum disease:
- Brush at least twice daily for two minutes each time, and then floss. Daily brushing will remove acids and food particles that can quickly develop into decay. Ideally, you should brush after each meal or snack, but if that’s not feasible, then rinse your mouth well with plain water.
- Use a mouthwash at least daily. Mouthwash can remove residual bacteria as well as protect your teeth from the harmful effects of the acids in your mouth.
- See your dentist at least annually. Twice annually is better. No matter the quality of your oral hygiene regimen, your dentist will be able to spot potential problems before they escalate into more serious issues.
- Drink some tap water each day. Most people now drink bottled water, but most brands lack the minerals your teeth need, such as fluoride. Since most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, you’ll get the fluoride you need by drinking tap water.
- Eat foods that are healthy for your teeth. The same foods that are healthy for your body are also healthy for your teeth, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy cheese, sugar-free gum, and unsweetened coffee and tea.
- Ask your dentist’s advice. If you think more options may be available, your dentist is the best source of information about what’s good for your teeth. They’ve spent years in training and have years or decades of experience in treating teeth, so ask for their advice on how to best care for your teeth.
What Cavity Treatments Are Available?
Many treatments are available to prevent cavities and plaque, fight bacteria, and eliminate acids before they begin to deteriorate your teeth. Discuss this with your dentist to learn the most advanced treatments for healthy teeth.
Do Fillings Help?
Fillings are great for small holes or cavities, and they’re a simple fix. If you have a larger cavity, however, your dentist may need to use more invasive techniques, so be sure to catch cavities while they’re small.
What’s the Purpose of a Crown?
If you have a large cavity, your dentist will likely install a crown. Large fillings have a higher failure rate, so the most effective solution over time will be a dental crown, also called a cap. This will restore functionality to the tooth.
When Would I Need a Root Canal?
If you have a large cavity that will need a large filling or if your tooth has decayed and the infection has reached the tooth pulp, then you’ll probably need a root canal. This procedure involves removing the decayed part of the tooth and root, disinfecting the area and sealing the root, then filling the canal with gutta-percha, which is a flexible substance that’s similar to your tooth pulp. You’ll then have a dental crown installed over the tooth. The procedure will require two or three office visits and usually takes less than a month to complete, which includes the healing time.
New Techniques in Cavity Prevention and Treatment
The field of dentistry is constantly expanding, and your dentist can explain some of the newest techniques that may help you with your oral hygiene. Newer techniques include using a fluorescent light that can locate decay before it becomes a cavity. A sealant or fluoride treatment can be applied to the area that will prevent decay from spreading.
Another newer treatment is a filling that releases fluoride to the decaying tooth and the surrounding teeth, preventing the decay from spreading to adjacent teeth.
No matter the sophistication of the dental techniques, however, the best defense against cavities and decay is good oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing at least twice daily, using an antibacterial mouthwash, and having regular dental checkups are the best methods for preventing cavities and gum disease. A healthy diet that’s free of junk food and low in carbohydrates can be a significant factor also. Generally, foods that are bad for your body are also bad for your teeth and gums. Avoid excessive sugar and empty calories and follow the American Dental Association guidelines to ensure that you have the healthiest teeth and gums possible.