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How To Care For Your Teeth

One day you forgot to brush your teeth. The next day you forget to floss. Soon you arrive at the dentist office with a toothache for your worst fear to be confirmed: you have developed a cavity. Usually the next step is either a filling or, for a bad case, a root canal. Neither of these is fun or inviting, so let’s take a look at what can be done to avoid developing a cavity.

Formation

In general, tooth enamel can repair itself with aide from saliva, toothpaste with fluoride, or other sources. However, if tooth decay continues to occur, more minerals are compromised. This leaves the enamel weakened and allows a cavity to develop. A cavity is permanent damage to a tooth that requires a filling from a dentist.

Cavities can develop from a variety of sources, including:

  • Dental Plaque
  • Sugary Drinks and Snacks
  • Infrequent Brushing
  • Using Tobacco Products
  • Alcohol Consumption

These habits can result in repeated acid attacks on teeth, which may cause white spots that depict the breakdown of enamel. This is an early sign of decay, which may lead to the development of a cavity.

Avoidance

As with many other health problems, cavities can be avoided by practicing routine dental hygiene. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing, using fluoride, and scheduling regular dental cleanings are essential. In addition, sealants can also help protect teeth that are particularly vulnerable to cavity development.

Untreated Cavities

The best course of action is to visit a dental office when you first suspect a cavity. Cavities may also be detected at routine visits. If left untreated, the tooth will gradually continue to decay. Sensitivity to hot and cold and strong pain in the general area are common indicators that a cavity has formed. Bacteria may begin to grow and pus can develop, which may cause additional pain. Untreated cavities can also worsen and can kill the pulp of the tooth or cause an infection. If left untreated, these infections can spread throughout the body compromising one’s overall health. In this case, antibiotics and a root canal or extraction may be necessary.

While visiting the dentist for a potential cavity is hardly any fun, if left untreated it can become a major health concern. Fixing a small problem becomes a minimal task compared to correcting a systemic infection or painful extraction. Promoting dental health is always the best option. However, once a cavity has formed the patient often only has one choice: to visit the dentist.