As one of the most common illnesses prevalent today, cavities can easily be prevented. Cavities arise when harmful bacteria in your mouth react with sugar and starches in your food, producing acids that wear away tooth enamel. They can go undetected in the early stages, which is why it is important to keep your annual dental checkups. Once you feel tooth pain from a cavity, you will need more extensive intervention.
The Three Types of Cavities
No. 1 Smooth surface cavities are found on the outside, smooth sides of teeth, these are the most preventable type of cavity, and the most easily reversed. Developing slowly, they start as a white spot where bacteria dissolve the calcium on a tooth’s enamel. These start to develop in adult teeth between the ages of 20-30.
No. 2 Pit and fissure cavities, or coronal cavities, arise on the narrow grooves on the chewing surface of teeth. This can start as early as the teen years, progressing quickly. They are harder to reach (and therefore harder to clean), so dental sealants on the back teeth can help prevent these.
No. 3 Root cavities arise on the root surface of a tooth. These usually develop in older adults with receding gums wherever parts of the root are exposed. These stem from poor oral hygiene, dry mouth from limited saliva production and a diet high in sugar and starches.
Fluoride helps heal tooth enamel in the early stages of tooth decay, by fortifying the enamel. Once a cavity spreads inside the tooth it will require a filling to drill out the decay and fill the space left behind.
Did you know that parents can pass tooth decay bacteria on to their children by kissing them or sharing eating utensils? We don’t want you to stop kissing your little ones, but be sure and take good care of your oral hygiene! Don’t share straws or food or toothbrushes that have been in your mouth. This goes for siblings as well.
Caring for Your Oral Health
–Use a soft bristled toothbrush to clean your teeth at least twice a day.
–Use dental floss or a dental pick to floss carefully at least once a day.
–Keep your scheduled six months dental cleanings and checkups.
–Consider using a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel.
–Ask your dentist about dental sealants to protect the molars in the back of your mouth.
–Maintain a healthy balanced diet from the recommended food groups.
–Avoid snacking and sipping sweetened beverages between meals.
If you have questions, or concerns, or would like to schedule your next dental cleaning, please give Werschky & Lewis Family Dentistry a call at (810) 695-7120 today!