Cavities are one of the most common dental problems and can lead to more severe health issues if they’re not dealt with quickly. Also commonly known as tooth decay or caries, cavities can also potentially result in loss or extraction of teeth. Dental cavities refer to the damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth. These damaged areas develop into holes or openings in the teeth. Cavities are caused by a combination of different factors that include:
- Not cleaning your teeth regularly or adequately
- Consuming excessive amounts of sugar
- Frequent snacking
- Vitamin D deficiency
While some cavities are easy to spot if you inspect your teeth regularly, other interproximal cavities are difficult to see without an X-ray. In its earlier stages, cavities appear as smaller white spots that become larger and brown or black in color as they grow.
Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay
Having healthy teeth is essential for eating, talking, and maintaining facial structure. It is essential that you take proper care of your teeth as they’re the first line of defense when it comes to our general well-being. Below are some of the ways that you can prevent cavities and have better overall oral health.
Brush Your Teeth
Ideally, you should brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. However, it is preferable to do so after each meal to maintain oral hygiene and prevent tooth and oral health issues.
Floss between Your Teeth
While brushing helps remove plaque from the surface of your teeth, it often misses the small gaps between teeth. This is where interproximal cavities may form, making it crucial to floss. Flossing your teeth helps remove any food particles or plaque between the teeth. You can also use an interdental cleaner.
Rinse Your Mouth Daily
It is a good idea to rinse your mouth with a fluoride-containing mouthwash regularly. These contain antiseptic ingredients that can kill plaque-causing bacteria. This is especially important for people at a higher risk of developing dental cavities.
Check Your Food Intake
Constantly sipping on sugary drinks and snacking on unhealthy food causes your mouth bacteria to produce acids that can damage your tooth enamel. This puts your mouth under constant acid attack, which puts you at a greater risk for tooth decay. Eat balanced meals and healthy snacks that are good for the body as well as your teeth. Avoid foods that are sticky or can get stuck between pits and grooves of your teeth.
See Your Dentist Regularly
It is extremely important to go for regular dental checkups. Not only will it help you identify possible risk factors, but your dentist will also guide you to maintain a better oral hygiene routine. Professional dental cleanings are ideal for maintaining clean and healthy teeth.
What to Do If You Suspect a Cavity
You may have developed a cavity if you’re experiencing symptoms like tooth sensitivity, toothaches, or have noticed discolored areas on your teeth. If you suspect a cavity, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist may recommend a crown, filling, or root canal treatment, depending on the risk and size of your cavity.
Contact Gentle Dental Maine!
If you have any questions about the causes or symptoms of a dental cavity, feel free to contact our team of dental professionals at Gentle Dental of southern Maine! We provide professional family dentistry services at each of our offices in South Portland, Biddeford, and Topsham. Give us a call at any one of our offices, or if you’re not yet a patient with us, please fill out the new patient form on our website!