A cavity is a hole in your tooth caused by decay. Sometimes they are dark, and other times they can simply be a depression in the tooth. If left alone and untreated cavities can decay until nerves are exposed or the tooth breaks. If this happens you will need to schedule dental care as soon as possible. As with most things, prevention saves you time, money, and pain in the long run. So what are you doing that may be feeding your cavities and helping them damage your teeth.
Missing Your Cleanings
The American Dental Association (ADA) [http://www.ada.org/en] recommends dental cleanings at least twice a year for healthy individuals beginning at age one When you skip these regular cleanings, you allow existing problems to get worse. It’s at these appointments that dentists can find, diagnose and plan treatment for cavities, decay, and gum disease.
Forgetting to Brush
When you forget to brush or brush improperly, plaque and bacteria is left on the teeth, damaging the enamel. It’s best to brush your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush that fits your mouth and reaches all teeth properly. After the age of three, individuals can safely use fluoride toothpaste, and should do so with a firm brush. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when it’s worn or frayed.
Don’t Skip the Floss
When it comes to tooth care, flossing is often neglected. But, since the toothbrush doesn’t reach in between the teeth, flossing is essential to good oral hygiene. When the plaque isn’t removed from in between the teeth it can turn to tartar or calculus and cause damage to the nearby teeth. People often neglect flossing because its inconvenience and it hurts. There have been strides to solve these problems in recent years. There are a few options of flossing products today, including pre-threaded flossers or water picks! Products like these can make flossing tolerable, and make it possible to floss-on-the-go, and even take the floss out of flossing!
Eating Unhealthy Foods
Teeth are damaged when plaque comes into contact with sugars, resulting in acid that eats through enamel. Foods that are heavy in sugar should be avoided or at least eaten in moderation. These include sweets like candies, cakes, juices, and soda, but also include carbs like popular snack crackers and fruit snacks. You can avoid tooth decay by rinsing your mouth after eating sugary sweets. Also, flossing can prevent damage caused by a poor diet.
Water is the most important fluid you can put into your body. It’s essential for whole-body health, and is great for your oral health. Drinking water in between meals, especially after consuming sweets, can rinse sugars out of your teeth. You can help children form healthy habits by encouraging them to rinse their mouths with water before bed.
Community water fluoridation has improved dental health for the general public over the last 70 years. A small amount of fluoride in water prevents tooth decay and protects against cavities for all ages. It’s a cost effective way to prevent expensive intervention later. If you don’t know about Flouride, ask your dentist or primary care physician about fluoride treatments.
Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Use
Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco use is a serious addiction that affects oral health. Side effects of tobacco use can include: gum disease that can lead to tooth loss, tissue and bone loss around the roots of the teeth. As teeth are mistreated, enamel is damaged, and cavities have a perfect environment to continue to damage your teeth.
When you frequently snack or sip on sugary drinks, you constantly fuel the bacteria in your mouth, which causes acid build-up. This acid attacks the enamel on your teeth. This can be prevented by eating a few meals per day and avoiding snacks, especially sugary sweets and starchy products.
Persistent Dry Mouth
Because of certain prescription medications or medical conditions a person’s mouth may not produce adequate saliva. Saliva helps to wash the teeth and gums, preventing tooth decay. If you have dry mouth talk to your dentist. You can also chew sugar-free gum after meals or snacks to encourage saliva production.
Many might not know that heartburn acids can cause severe tooth decay and cavity growth. Similar issues are caused by frequent vomiting. See a healthcare professional if you experience frequent heartburn or vomiting. Also, remember to drink adequate water, rinsing, and consuming through the day.