Most people know that a dental cavity is a hole in a tooth. Left untreated, it can cause pain and severe damage. Cavities are also referred to as tooth decay or dental caries. This is the most common problem in dental care and also the most easily prevented, but oral hygiene is required from the time you are born to succeed in the lifelong fight against cavities.
We have bacteria in our mouths that help us digest food. Problems begin when bacteria, saliva, food debris and acid combine and form plaque, a sticky substance that adheres to our teeth and can harden into tartar. Tooth decay begins when plaque and tartar are not removed through flossing, brushing or professional dental cleanings. Plaque contains acids which dissolve the enamel of the tooth leading to cavities, a broken tooth, an abscess, gum disease, or loss of the tooth.
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Cavities:
Reduce the amounts of sugars and starches in your diet.
Watch the amount of sticky foods that you eat.
Reduce between-meal snacks, as acids in the mouth increase right after you eat.
Brush and floss frequently. If you can't brush, at least rinse your mouth with water.
See a dental hygienist regularly for a professional cleaning.
Choose a family dentist who will provide education on cavity prevention.
Symptoms of a cavity may include tooth pain, temperature sensitivity, and visible holes in your teeth. A checkup by a dental professional can confirm whether cavities are present. The dentist may be able to diagnose cavities through a visual inspection or dental x-rays may be required.
Choosing a dentist to treat cavities depends on the extent of damage in your mouth. If the cavities have been detected early, you can choose a family dentist or general dentist to cover the holes with fillings. If the cavities have caused damage to the structure of your tooth, you may need to choose a cosmetic dentist to install a dental crown. If the cavity has led to damage in the root of your tooth you may need to find an endodontist to perform a root canal.
ChooseYourDentist.com is your go-to source for dental information and dental education. If you have cavities or would like further information on preventing cavities, use our dental profiles to help find a family dentist who can help because ChooseYourDentist.com is "where patients and dentists meet."