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Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone

Many people think it’s okay to skip their regular oral hygiene routine occasionally. However, that’s incorrect, and doing so, even infrequently, can lead to serious problems for your oral health as well as your physical health. A small amount of decay can quickly transform into a cavity and adversely affect your teeth and gums. If you’re unaware of its presence, your small cavity can become a large cavity or worse. Instead of a small filling, you may require a crown, a root canal, or a treatment for periodontal disease.

Tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to serious health diseases such as diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension as well as premature death. Good oral hygiene that’s practiced daily can help you avoid these issues. Learn how to prevent cavities and tooth decay so you can avoid these diseases.

When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth combine with the food particles and start the digestive process, which involves forming acid to break down your food. If not removed through brushing and flossing, the acid will attack your tooth enamel, and decay can start. Over time, a small hole may develop, which is the beginning of a cavity. However, brushing and flossing after eating can remove the acid, thus preventing a hole from forming and a cavity from developing. If you notice a cavity or a small hole, make an appointment with your dentist without delay because early treatment has the best prognosis.

If you have a small cavity, a filling may be possible. If your cavity is larger, you may need a crown to restore functionality to the tooth. If it’s very large and there’s decay in the pulp, then you may need a root canal and a cap to preserve your tooth and restore its functionality.

How Do I Prevent Cavities?

Preventing cavities and maintaining good oral health isn’t difficult, but it requires dedication. The American Dental Association publishes guidelines for good oral hygiene practices, which are similar to the following:

  1. Regular brushing: Brush and floss a minimum of twice daily. Optimally, you should also brush each time you eat a meal or a snack. If brushing isn’t possible, be sure to rinse your mouth well with plain water.
  2. Use mouthwash daily: An antibacterial mouthwash can remove residual bacteria that your toothbrush missed.
  3. Get regular dental checkups: Part of your good oral hygiene regimen should include regular dental checkups. Semi-annual checkups are optimal, but if that’s not feasible, then have annual checkups at a minimum.
  4. Use topical dental treatments: Your dentist can apply a topical treatment to your tooth enamel that will protect it from the deteriorating effects of acid.
  5. Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: A healthy, tooth-friendly diet should include foods such as high-fiber fruits and vegetables, dairy products such as cheese, sugar-free gum, black coffee, and tea. Avoid foods that are high in sugars, carbohydrates, additives, and preservatives.
  6. Drink tap water: Most people drink bottled water now, but many brands of bottled water lack the minerals you need for healthy teeth. One solution is to drink some tap water each day. Most municipalities fluoridate their water supply, and fluoride is excellent for your teeth, so drink a little bit of tap water each day.
  7. Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has spent years training in their field, so be sure to ask your dentist for advice on improving your oral hygiene routine and preventing cavities and decay.

Even if you have a great oral hygiene regimen, you may have issues that you don’t know about, but they can be spotted by your dentist. This is one great reason to have at least annual checkups with your dentist.

What Are the Treatment Options for Cavities?

If you develop a cavity or some tooth decay, several options are available for treatment. Your dentist will recommend the best option for you, but the most common options are:

  • Fillings: If you have a small cavity, your dentist can remove the decay and clean the area, then fill it. Several types of filling materials are available, and your dentist will recommend the best option for your needs, depending in part on the size of the cavity and the location of the tooth.
  • Crowns: A larger cavity may require a dental crown to restore functionality to the tooth. If so, the procedure is similar, but your tooth will be covered by a crown rather than having a filling. Very large fillings are more prone to cracking and failure, so crowns are a better solution, and they’re matched to the size, shape, and color of your tooth.
  • Root Canal: If your tooth decay has spread to the pulpy interior of your tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal. This involves removing the decay, the nerve, and the pulp of the tooth. The area will be cleaned and disinfected, and then the canal will be filled with gutta-percha, which is a rubbery substance similar in texture to the tooth pulp. Your tooth will then be covered with a cap to restore functionality to the tooth.

Other remedies may be available to fix your tooth, and your dentist can advise you of them if they are required. Advances in dentistry include using lasers for many procedures, fluorescent light to detect decay, and applying fluoride next to a tooth to protect adjacent teeth. New techniques and procedures are being developed rapidly, so ask your dentist about all your options.

Prevention Is The Best Treatment…

Although modern techniques are very helpful and new ones constantly appear, the best treatment for tooth decay and cavities is to avoid getting them. Dedication to your good oral hygiene regimen will keep you in the best physical and oral health without the need for invasive and expensive dental treatments. Eating a healthy diet, brushing and flossing at least twice daily, and getting regular dental checkups will provide you with the best oral health possible.

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