Tooth decay and cavities are very common problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental cavities affect more than 60% of children by the time they are 12 years of age and also affect about 20% of adults.
A cavity is a hole in your tooth. It can be caused by bacteria that make acid, which eats away at the enamel on your teeth. Cavities are usually found on the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. These are the front teeth that you use to chew food. If left untreated, cavities can lead to pain, infection, or tooth loss. While more serious cases of tooth decay can be more difficult to deal with, making these small changes mentioned here will help you save on your dental expenses down the road.
The Causes of Cavities
According to a renowned dentist in Arvada, CO, Winter Dental, the causes of cavities are many. Cavities are caused by bacteria that produce acid in your mouth, which eats away at the tooth's enamel. The most common causes of cavities are frequent snacking, too much sugar intake, dry mouth, or improper dental hygiene.
Food particles can also cause cavities if they get stuck to your teeth and start producing acid. If you have any cracks in your enamel or if you have plaque buildup on your teeth, it will be much easier for food particles to get stuck there and cause cavities.
Cavities can lead to painful problems like tooth or root abscesses; oral infections or inflammation; gum disease; tooth loss; anemia; bad breath; tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks; and pain when chewing hard foods.
Tips for reducing the risk of cavities
· Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mouth healthy. Brushing removes plaque, bacteria, and food particles from the teeth.
To brush properly, use a toothbrush with soft bristles and make sure to brush the front, back, chewing surfaces, inside surfaces of the teeth, and tongue. You should brush for at least 2 minutes, or until you notice that most of the toothpaste has been used up.
It is important to brush again after eating or drinking anything other than water, because these substances will increase the risk of dental cavities. It is also important to replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
· Floss on a daily basis.
According to the American Dental Association, flossing removes food particles and bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Flossing also helps to remove plaque biofilm from your teeth, which contains cavity-causing bacteria. Additionally, regular flossing can help remove debris that collects between your teeth and gums.
· Eat healthy snacks between meals.
Eating healthy snacks between meals can help reduce sugar intake and maintain a balanced diet. If you eat healthy snacks, it will help balance the amount of sugar in your diet and prevent tooth decay and cavities. Healthy snacks should include whole grains, fruits, and vegetables that are high in fiber.
· Drink plenty of water.
Drinking plenty of water is one of the best ways to prevent cavities. Staying hydrated is good for your overall oral health. You can't drink enough water if you want to avoid cavities. Your mouth contains a lot of saliva, which is responsible for fighting tooth decay and cavities. But, if you don't stay hydrated, your saliva production will decrease which may lead to bad breath and a dry mouth which is not good for your dental health.
· Sugary drinks should be avoided.
One of the easiest ways to decrease the risk of tooth decay and cavities is to avoid sugary drinks. Sugary drinks are a major contributor to tooth decay and cavities because they contain high levels of sugar that can cause cavity-causing bacteria to produce acid. To decrease your risk, try drinking water instead of soda or juice, or at least drink soda or juice in moderation.
· Get regular dental checkups and cleanings
One of the most effective ways to prevent cavities is by getting regular dental checkups and cleanings. Dentists will look for signs of tooth decay and can identify decay before it becomes a problem. They may also recommend sealant treatments, which coat the surfaces of the teeth and protect them from decay-causing bacteria.
Unconventional ways to prevent dental cavities
There are many surprising and unconventional ways to prevent dental cavities. It is often thought that prevention methods like brushing and flossing are the only ways to keep your mouth clean and cavity free.
However, some of the most effective ways include chewing sugarless gum or using certain types of mouthwash. Your teeth will stay cleaner if they can remove food particles from your mouth, such as when you eat a meal with different textures of food.
Chewing sugarless gum ensures that you’re constantly moving your teeth together, so it removes plaque from between them and keeps your mouth clean. Certain types of mouthwash also work well for removing plaque and preventing dental cavities, such as Listerine Mouthwash, which contains antibacterial properties that help fight plaque buildup on teeth.
Plus, there are other foods you can consume that will contribute to better oral health if eaten regularly. Foods like apples may be able to remove bacteria from inside your gums due to their high levels of malic acid. And eating corn on the cob on a regular basis may scrub away any bacteria from the surface of your teeth as well as pull any trapped food particles out from between them!
What to do if you already have a cavity?
If you already have a dental cavity, there are also remedies for that. One common type is a filling, which is a type of dental treatment that seals and repairs cavities. The restoration fills the damaged area on your tooth's surface with material such as silver amalgam or composite resin. Dentists usually recommend this treatment if the decayed part of the tooth is too large to be repaired with a crown.
The best way to prevent dental cavities is to take care of them before they happen. The sooner you catch a cavity, the easier it is for your dentist to fix it. By practicing these habits, you can avoid cavities altogether or stop them before they get too big.