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Posted on: September 14, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone
Procrastinating on your oral hygiene routine is one of the best methods for ensuring that you develop one or more cavities or tooth decay. If you want to avoid these things, make sure you have a good oral hygiene regimen that you follow religiously. Skipping your nightly routine of brushing and flossing even a few times can result in a cavity or tooth decay. If you notice a small hole in your tooth, you’ve probably developed a cavity.
When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth combine with the food you eat and form acids. This is the first stage of your digestive process, so it’s necessary. However, when you don’t remove the acids and food particles through brushing and flossing, they begin to attack your tooth enamel and cause decay. If you have a hole in your tooth enamel, then your dentist can fix it with a filling or a crown, but it’s best to avoid holes and decay through a program of good oral hygiene.
If you go to your dentist when you have a small hole, a filling will probably suffice. If, however, you delay, then your hole will enlarge, and you’ll probably need a crown or a cap. Additional waiting will probably mean you need a root canal and a crown. A good oral hygiene program can prevent these issues from occurring, so no matter how tired you are or how much you need sleep, spend the extra few minutes to take care of your teeth.
Are There Tips to Prevent Cavities?
There are many ways to prevent cavities, but all of them require dedication and consistency. Skipping your oral hygiene routine even occasionally can invalidate all your previous efforts. The following tips are similar to those issued by the American Dental Association:
- Regular brushing: Brush at least twice daily, in the morning before you eat or drink anything, and at night just before bedtime. At night, don’t eat or drink anything except plain water after you brush and floss. The American Dental Association recommends that you also brush and floss after each meal or snack to eliminate as much decay-producing acid as possible.
- Use mouthwash daily: You should use an antibacterial mouthwash at least once each day. Twice is better, particularly before bedtime. Mouthwash can remove any residual bacteria and food particles that your brushing and flossing missed, so many people prefer to use mouthwash just before bedtime.
- Get regular dental checkups: One of the most important aspects of your oral health routine should be regular dental checkups, either annually or twice yearly. Twice each year is better since your dentist can catch minor issues before they escalate.
- Use topical dental treatments: Your dentist can apply topical treatments to the fronts and backs of your teeth. These applications can protect your teeth against bacteria, tooth decay, and acids that damage your teeth. The sealant can reach small areas that your toothbrush may miss, and sealants can last as long as a decade when you practice good oral hygiene. Even if you have these topical applications, you still need to maintain good brushing and flossing habits.
- Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: Some foods and beverages are good for your teeth for various reasons. Dairy and cheese provide calcium that can strengthen your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, which helps clean your teeth and keep your saliva flowing. Sugar-free gum, as well as unsweetened tea and coffee, are good for your teeth because they promote the flow of saliva and help ward off cavities.
- Drink tap water: Most people now drink only bottled water, but most bottled water brands don’t contain the minerals your teeth need. To keep your teeth well mineralized, drink some tap water each day. Most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, which can supply your teeth with the minerals they need.
- Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has spent years in training and becoming educated, so they’re the experts. Ask your dentist for suggestions on improving your daily hygiene regimen so you have the healthiest mouth possible.
Maintaining good oral hygiene can help you have the best oral health possible. You can also ensure that your teeth last throughout your lifetime without the need for expensive and invasive dental treatments or prosthetics.
What Treatments Are Available for Cavities?
Although advances in dental technology have yielded innovative treatments for cavities, such as the use of a fluorescent light to detect decay, if you have a cavity, your dentist will likely recommend one of the following treatments:
- Filling: If you have a small hole in your tooth, then you most likely have a cavity, and your dentist will recommend a standard filling. They’ll clean and disinfect the decayed part, then place the filling. Depending on the size and location of the cavity, your dentist may recommend one of several types of fillings. Often, a filling can be placed in one office visit.
- Crown: If your cavity is large, then you’ll need a larger filling, and your dentist may recommend a crown. Large fillings have a high failure rate, so a crown may be your best alternative. Also called a cap, the tooth is prepared the same as for a small filling, but then a custom-made cap is placed over the tooth. The cap will be matched to the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth.
- Root Canal: If your tooth decay has spread to the root and pulp of your tooth, then your dentist may recommend a root canal. This procedure involves removing the decayed part of the tooth as well as the nerve and pulp, cleaning and disinfecting the area, then filling the canal with gutta-percha. The roots of the tooth will be sealed, and the custom crown will be placed. A crown covers the entire exposed area of the tooth and looks and feels just like your natural teeth.
Ask your dentist about other types of new treatments for cavities and the surrounding teeth.
Despite all your best efforts, you may get a cavity. If so, be sure to contact your local dentist without delay so that the infection doesn’t spread and you don’t need more invasive treatments. The best method for preventing cavities, however, is practicing good oral hygiene habits that include regular dental checkups. With proper care and regular checkups, your teeth may last for your entire life.