Tooth Cavities – why do we get them and can they be prevented?

Cavities are holes or permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of your teeth. Cavities be caused bacteria in your mouth, poor or improper teeth cleaning and consumption of too many sugary drinks or snacks. If tooth decay is not treated, it can lead to discomfort and serious tooth issues including toothache, infection and loss of the tooth. It is important to be aware of cavity warning signs. Regularly scheduled checkups with your dentist are important, and can help you avoid cavities and tooth decay.

Cavities are most common in children, teenagers and older adults, but cavities can happen to anyone. When a cavity is forming, you may not always experience physical discomfort or see anything unusual in your mouth. Regular visits to your dentist can help you identify tooth decay concerns, and regular cleanings and dental checkups can help you avoid cavities completely.

Symptoms: what to watch out for

Are you experiencing tooth pain or discomfort? Do you see a pit or visible hole in your tooth? Do you have pain when biting down, eating, drinking or consuming something hot, cold or sweet? Do you have mouth pain that seems to have come out of nowhere?  There is a possibility that you have a cavity.  While there is no way to reverse the tooth decay damage done by a cavity, your dentist can help you prevent further damage by investigating the area of concern and, if needed, the dentist will clean the space and fill the cavity with a material designed to prevent further damage to the tooth. It is important to remember that not all tooth pain or mouth discomfort is caused by a cavity. Nevertheless, you should always schedule an appointment with your dental care provider if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.  It’s better to have areas of concern looked at than to let them go unchecked.

Causes: where do cavities come from?

Simply put, cavities are caused by tooth decay. But what causes the decay of the tooth?  Due to bacteria in the mouth and the foods and drinks that we consume, plaque can form on our teeth. Plaque is a sticky, slimy film that forms on our teeth after we eat sugary or starchy foods. When we don’t clean our teeth after eating these foods, plaque forms.  And plaque can quickly turn into hard tartar.  Tartar is even harder to remove from teeth than plaque, and it creates a bacteria breeding ground that causes decay to happen quickly.

Solutions: how to avoid cavities

Regular brushing and flossing after all meals is a first line of defense against plaque and decay. This is important for all ages, but especially children.  Avoiding excessive sugary drinks and sweets also keeps the teeth free of substances that quickly further the opportunity for decay.  And regular visits to your dentist are important. Your dentist’s office will perform a thorough cleaning of your teeth at each visit, and your dentist will carefully examine your mouth for any areas of concern.  Your dentist may point out areas of your mouth that require extra-careful brushing due to tooth crowding or mouth shape.

Kids and cavities: what to know

Young children and teens are already more susceptible to cavities than others, so it’s helpful to remember a few simply tips that will provide extra protection against tooth decay for these groups.  Don’t allow babies to go to bed with a bottle of milk or juice.  Don’t allow teens to continually sip sugary soda throughout the day. Limit sweets, starchy foods, sticky candies and other foods that adhere to the teeth and can cause eventual decay. Remember to brush and floss after all meals. If your child has braces, an expander, a retainer or other dental device, extra attention to cleaning is especially necessary.

If you do have a cavity: what you need to know

Sometimes you end up with a cavity despite your best efforts of brushing and flossing. Medications, medical conditions and other factors can lead to tooth decay, despite our best efforts.  If you’re experiencing tooth pain and suspect a cavity, or if you’ve confirmed a cavity with you dentist, know that the situation can be corrected and further damage can be prevented.  Your dental health care provider is experienced in handling a wide variety of dental concerns.

Many cavity fillings use a dental injection or dental shot to numb the discomfort of the tooth drilling and cavity filling process. Some people have more anxiety about the shot than the cavity repair!  Did you know that there are now tools available to completely eliminate the fear of needles associated with dental injections?  The DentalVibe tool completely eliminates the discomfort associated with dental shots.   By taking the discomfort out of the dental injection process, you can be confident that if you need a cavity filled, the entire experience will be without pain and discomfort.  The dental injection means cavity filling will not be painful, and the DentalVibe tool means that the injection will not be uncomfortable, either.

Don’t be afraid to go to the dentist to handle your tooth pain and tooth decay concerns.  And if you have anxiety about cavities, dental work or any dental procedure, please speak to your dental care provider. They have a variety of medications and tools at their disposal to help you have a pain-free and anxiety-free dental care is experience.  Taking care of your teeth and your mouth is important.  Correct dental care can help prevent future dental and overall health concerns. If you’re worried about dental injections, talk to you dentist about DentalVibe. But don’t be afraid to make the call.  Pain-free and anxiety-free dental care can be yours!

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