If you’ve ever had a cavity, you want to do everything you can to prevent developing another one. Luckily, there are plenty of ways (both obvious and not so obvious) to prevent unpleasant cavities.
What are cavities?
A cavity is the fancy term for tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, a sticky substance left on our teeth, combines with sugars and starches in foods that we eat. The combination of these ingredients produces acids that attack tooth enamel. Enamel is the hard substance that protects our teeth. So once it’s removed, our teeth are vulnerable to decay.
How do I know if I have one?
The only way to guarantee the detection of cavities is through your dentist. They will do a physical exam to search for trouble spots and x-rays can help tell the full story of what’s going on in your mouth. More advanced cavities can cause toothaches. You might notice sensitivity in a specific area when you drink something sweet, hot or cold. If you’re able to see the area, you might notice pits or holes in your teeth that are dark in color.
How are cavities treated?
In most cases, a cavity can be treated with a filling. The bacteria will be cleaned out and a material will be placed inside the pit to prevent bacteria from developing there again. In some cases, a tooth might have decayed too much and the only option left is to remove the tooth. This is not ideal and can lead to a negative chain of events. This is why it is critical to keep up on cleanings so that problems can be detected early.
How can I prevent them?
The obvious ways to prevent cavities are to brush your teeth properly and floss every day. If you manage to brush at least twice a day and floss between all of your teeth, you will be well on your way to living a cavity free life.
But some need a bit of extra help protecting their teeth. What else can you do? Besides visiting your dentist for a cleaning every six months, you can also have sealants placed. Dental sealants are protective coatings. The solution is applied to the biting surface of the teeth, preventing bacteria and plaque from damaging the tooth. Most children have sealants placed but adults can benefit from them as well.
A change in diet can also help to prevent cavities. Limit foods that contain natural sugars and starches. You might be surprised at the types of foods that can lead to cavities, like fruit and sweet potatoes. Adding extra healthy fats to your diet can help. Use coconut oil instead of butter when you cook.
A change in hormones can have a negative effect on our smiles. Do your best to balance the hormones in your body. Get more sleep, do your best to avoid stress and make time to exercise. These are great goals to strive for no matter what but they can help keep your teeth cavity-free.
Don’t feel like you can never indulge in a treat though. Carbonated drinks often contain excess sugar. If you want to enjoy one, drink your beverage through a straw. Chewing sugar-free gum after meals will also help to keep your teeth strong and healthy.
Some people have teeth that are more susceptible to cavities than others. Make an appointment at Quay Dental today to have your teeth cleaned and examined. We will be more than happy to develop a personal plan for you to prevent cavities and keep your teeth happy and healthy.