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Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone

When you’re tempted to skip your nightly brushing and flossing routine, one word of advice: don’t. Although it may seem insignificant for just one night, the bacteria and acids that remain on your teeth overnight can wreak havoc on your tooth enamel. Poor dental health has been linked to several serious diseases, such as diabetes, dementia, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, and more, including premature death. The best way to avoid developing the complications of poor oral health is to maintain good oral hygiene, including regular dental visits.

When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth combine with the food particles and form acids that are the first stage of your digestive process. When not removed through brushing and flossing, the acids and food particles begin to form plaque, which is a very hard substance that can only be removed by a dentist. Eventually, tooth decay and gum disease can result, so regular brushing and flossing are essential if you want healthy teeth and gums.

If you notice a hole in your teeth, you may have a cavity, so make a dental appointment without delay. If it’s a small hole, then you’ll probably need a filling. However, if the hole is larger or the decay has reached the tooth’s interior, you may need a cap or a root canal. Catching tooth decay early is the key to minimizing the treatment you need.

Which Are the Best Methods for Preventing Cavities?

The absolute best way to prevent cavities is a regimen of good oral hygiene that will prevent them from forming. Although your teeth won’t fall out because you get a cavity, a cavity or tooth decay can indicate the need to improve your oral hygiene habits. The American Dental Association has published standards for good oral hygiene, and they are similar to the following:

  1. Regular brushing: For best results, brush your teeth at least twice daily for two minutes each time, and then use dental floss to reach the areas that brushing missed. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss after each meal and snack, but if that’s not possible, then be sure to rinse thoroughly with plain water.
  2. Use mouthwash daily: The American Dental Association also recommends that you use an antibacterial mouthwash at least twice daily. Rinsing at night before bedtime is ideal because the mouthwash can remove any residual bacteria that your toothbrush might have missed. Be sure to use a mouthwash that carries the ADA seal of approval.
  3. Get regular dental checkups: Annual or semi-annual dental checkups are among the best methods for maintaining good oral health. Your dentist can advise you of improvements that you can make, and they can also spot minor issues before they escalate into larger issues.
  4. Use topical dental treatments: Your dentist can apply a topical sealant to the fronts and backs of your teeth that will help protect against decay. When you take good care of a topical sealant, it can last for a decade or more. A sealant also prevents food particles from becoming trapped between your teeth, so they’re well worth the investment.
  5. Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: Some foods and beverages can work with your good oral hygiene regimen to keep your teeth healthy. Generally, the same foods that keep your body healthy will also keep your teeth healthy. Dairy cheese can supply calcium to your teeth and strengthen them. Fresh fruits and vegetables help keep your teeth clean and free of plaque. They also contain antioxidants that will help your mouth and your body. Unsweetened coffee and tea, as well as sugar-free gum, promote the flow of saliva to keep your mouth moist and remove bacteria.
  6. Drink tap water: Although many people drink bottled water, most brands of bottled water lack the minerals that your teeth need. Since most municipalities now fluoridate their water supply, try to drink a little tap water each day so that your teeth get the minerals they need.
  7. Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has years of training and expertise and can advise you on improvements to your oral hygiene regimen. Especially if you’re unsure of the best methods for preventing cavities and oral disease, your dentist’s advice can help you keep your mouth and teeth healthy.

How Do You Treat Cavities?

If you develop a cavity despite your best efforts, then your dentist will probably recommend one of the following treatments, depending on the size and location of the cavity.

  • Filling: If you have a small cavity, then a standard filling may work for you. Your dentist will remove the decayed portion, disinfect the area, and then fill it. Different types of fillings are used for different types of teeth and their locations, but your dentist will recommend the best type for your needs. Usually, a filling requires a single office visit.
  • Crown: If you need a larger filling, your dentist may recommend a crown since large fillings have a higher failure rate. If so, they’ll remove the decayed part, disinfect the area, and then cover the tooth with a crown, also called a cap. The cap covers the entire surface of the tooth, and it’s matched to the size, shape, and color of your natural teeth. This will restore your tooth to functionality, and the cap will function the same as your natural tooth. A crown may require two office visits.
  • Root Canal: If your tooth decay has reached the interior of your tooth, then your dentist may need to do a root canal. This involves removing the decayed area as well as the pulp and root, disinfecting the area, sealing the root, and filling the canal with gutta-percha. Next, your dentist will install your crown that has been custom-made to fit snugly over your entire tooth. Usually, a root canal requires a minimum of two office visits.

New dental treatments are continually being introduced to reduce the likelihood of developing cavities and decay, so be sure to ask your dentist about them.

Despite your best intentions, you may develop a cavity or tooth decay. The importance of good oral hygiene, both to your mouth and your body, can’t be overstated. Good dental care that includes regular dental checkups can help ensure that your teeth last throughout your lifetime. Eat healthily, get regular dental checkups, and practice good oral hygiene for the best oral and physical health you can have.

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