Our teeth are vital to our health as well as our self-confidence. We use them to chew and they make up our smile which is a huge part of making a good first impression on others. We will have two sets of teeth in our lives: our primary (baby) teeth and our secondary (adult) teeth.
Once our adult teeth have grown in, usually by age twelve or thirteen, it’s crucial to care for them as you won’t be getting anymore naturally (except maybe wisdom teeth but that’s another story). Cavities are the most common barrier to keeping your teeth for the rest of your life.
What Is A Cavity?
Cavities are what is created when tooth decay on our teeth has weakened our enamel and opened holes — hence the name. This exposes the sensitive soft tissues and nerves within which is why cavities are often the culprit behind toothaches. Additionally, cavities make teeth vulnerable to bacteria which can cause infections as well as creating sensitivity to temperature and touch. Cavities can making chew painful and limit your dietary options, making it difficult to get all the nutrients you need.
Cavities are the most frequently diagnosed health issue for people after the common cold. But what caused cavities and what can we do to fix them? And what can we do to stop cavities before they start? AH Smiles, a respected dental practice of Arlington Heights, IL has the answers you may be looking for.
How Do Cavities Form?
Since it is warm and wet, our mouths are teeming with bacteria. These bacteria thrive on the plaque that forms when food particles and saliva combine in our mouths, coating it. Brushing and flossing regularly will remove most of the plaque. However, plaque that has gathered in hard-to-reach places such as between teeth and below the gumline is often where cavities begin. The digestive acids from the bacteria bind to the plaque, feeding on the plaque but also eventually on our enamel itself.
How Are Cavities Treated?
Your AH Smiles dentist will usually treat cavities with fillings. Fillings are a treatment in which the holes in tooth enamel are reinforced with various substances. This seals up the tooth, stoping decay and infection. Fillings can be made of composite resin, amalgamated metals, gold, silver or glass ionomer. Your AH Smiles dentist will consult with you to decide which material would work best for your teeth and which is covered by your insurance.
It’s much simpler to prevent something than to reverse it and this is true of cavities too. Brushing twice daily or after meals with a fluoride-added toothpaste and flossing daily are recommended to remove the plaque that may have formed while also strengthening your enamel.
Dentists also suggest cutting down on carbohydrates in your diet (bacteria thrive on sugars and starches in your food) and drinking plenty of water to stay properly hydrated. A dry mouth can speed up the acidic breakdown of your tooth enamel as there isn’t enough saliva to wash away food particles and the bacteria that feed on them.
The surest way to prevent cavities is combining the above steps with regular check-ups and cleanings at Smile Dental Group or your local dental office. For those patients in Arlington Heights, IL area, call (847) 230-9703 or schedule an appointment online to consult with a skilled and professional dentist at AH Smiles. If you think you may be suffering from cavity or would like to discuss any other issue, contact us today!