No one wants cavities, but do you know exactly what they are, how you get them, and how you can avoid them? Cavities are caused by tooth decay, or damage to your tooth. That tooth decay impacts both the outer coating called enamel and the inner layer called dentin. Tooth decay occurs when foods stay on your teeth. Your mouth uses bacteria to turn those foods into acids, and those acids combined with the bacteria, food debris, and your saliva form plaque. That plaque clings to your teeth and dissolves their enamel which creates holes which we call cavities.
Now that you know what cavities are and how they form, let’s take a look at who gets cavities and how they can be avoided. It’s not true that only children get cavities. They also happen to older adults including seniors. You might be able to tell that you have cavities because of the pain they cause, but that’s not always the case.
The only way to know if you have cavities for sure is to get regular dental checkups. Your dentist will examine your teeth to see if you do have any cavities, and then will begin treatment if you do. Your dentist will most likely remove the decayed part of your tooth using a drill. The hole will then be filled in with a filling. Crowns can also be used for more advanced tooth decay. A root canal may be needed in certain circumstances.
Once you have a cavity, it needs to be treated, but how can you reduce your chances of getting one in the first place? A common misconception is that cavities only occur when you eat too many sweets and don’t brush your teeth enough. It’s true that sugar can eat away at your teeth a little quicker than more healthy foods, but it’s not the only culprit. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is important, but when it comes to preventing cavities, flossing is more important. That’s because flossing gets rid of those tiny food particles in between your teeth that lead to cavities.
Some of the best ways to prevent cavities from forming are brushing, flossing, not overdoing it with sugar consumption, and getting regular dental checkups. To schedule that all-important appointment with University Associates in Dentistry, give us a call today at (312) 704-5511.