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22 July 2021
CAVITIES: CAUSES, SYMPTOMS & PREVENTION
Are you experiencing sudden tooth pain and sensitivity in the tooth? There are many causes for toothache, but the most common one is the presence of harmful cavities. The risk of tooth cavities is present in people of every age group, and it is necessary to get the cavity treated with a root canal at the earliest to prevent tooth decay and tooth extraction. Here is a detailed overview of what are cavities, causes for a tooth cavity, its symptoms, and how to prevent cavities.
WHAT ARE CAVITIES?
Cavities or dental caries are holes in the tooth that decay the tooth. When bacteria or plaque attack the enamel and damage it, a cavity gets formed. Initially, cavities may be painless, but they extend to the inner tissues and decay the tooth roots, causing intense pain. You might see a black/brown spot or a hole in your tooth when the cavity extends to the inner tissues. Regular dental checkups can detect cavities in the early stage and prevent further consequences.
SYMPTOMS FOR CAVITIES OR DENTAL CARIES
- Visible holes and black/brown spots on the tooth
- Toothache that can be spontaneous and persistent
- Tooth sensitivity
- Pain while biting or chewing food
CAUSES FOR CAVITIES
Our mouth not only hosts teeth, gums and tongue but also harbors bacteria. When you consume sugary foods or foods rich in carbohydrates, bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugary components and turn them into acids. The food debris, acids and saliva combined with the harmful bacteria, form plaque that sticks to the teeth. When you don’t brush and floss your teeth, plaque keeps accumulating and releases acids that attack the enamel.
Enamel is the toughest outermost protective layer of the tooth that protects and conceals the soft inner tissues of the tooth. When the acids weaken and erode the enamel, an opening gets created that exposes the soft inner dentin tissue of the tooth. This opening is known as a cavity that extends further to expose the pulp of the tooth. When the cavity creates an opening in the tooth, the foods and drinks that you consume, the acids and bacteria travel to the roots of the tooth, causing sensitivity of teeth.
Thus harmful bacteria and plaque are the major causes for a cavity, however, other causes for cavity formation include:
- Overconsumption of sugary and sticky foods: Bacteria feed on sugars and produce harmful acids that attack the enamel.
- Frequent consumption of acidic and sugary drinks: Acids and sugars cause plaque formation that, in turn, produces acids to erode the enamel.
- Failing to brush and floss the teeth: When plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it produces harmful acids to form cavities.
- Dry mouth: Saliva flushes off harmful acids and plaque from the mouth. But due to dry mouth, the production of saliva reduces, and plaque keeps forming.
- Acids reflux: It is a gastrointestinal disorder where acids from the stomach return to the mouth and damage the enamel.
- Improper Oral Hygiene: Failing to nourish appropriate care to the teeth and gums.
- Skipping Dental Checkups: Regular dental checkups detect cavities and other dental defects in early stages and treat them before leading to severe consequences.
PREVENTION OF CAVITIES
If you think that cavities only affect the baby teeth, it’s time that you debunk this myth. Cavities are common in people of all ages. While feeding bottle decay, consumption of sugary foods and improper oral hygiene are the causes for cavities in kids, adults are at the risk of cavities, too. Due to ageing, the gums pull away from the teeth and also the enamel gets weakened. This increases the risk for cavities in older adults too. Also, when the cavities in baby teeth are left untreated, the decay troubles in the older ages, too. However, cavities can be prevented if you follow the steps mentioned below.
1.Follow the best Dental Hygiene Practices
Brush and floss your teeth twice a day. If you only brush but skip flossing, you must understand the importance of flossing for your teeth, as it removes plaque and food debris. Use an antimicrobial mouthwash that removes harmful bacteria and stuck food particles from the mouth.
2.Keep Your Mouth Hydrated
As seen above that dry mouth leads to cavities, keep your mouth hydrated by consuming plenty of water. Do not think that beverages, sodas and colas can prevent dry mouth. Acidic drinks spoil your dental health by damaging the enamel. Hence drink plenty of water and milk to strengthen the calcium-rich enamel.
3.Limit the Consumption of Sugary Foods & Drinks
You might now be aware of the adverse effects of sugary foods and drinks on your teeth; hence limit the consumption of these foods and develop the habit of tooth-friendly snacking. Consume more crunchy fruits and vegetables that increase the production of saliva and flush away harmful acids from the mouth.
4.Regular Dental Checkup
A regular dental checkup is vital to maintain good dental health. During the dental checkup routine, the dentist assesses your dental health to detect any defects, and if any defect found, they treat it in the initial stage to prevent further consequences. A maximum of oral disorders, gum infections and dental defects can get prevented by routine dental checkups. Also, dental cleaning removes the plaque and tartar build-up from the teeth.
Cavities developed in teeth can be treated via root canal treatment. People usually do not get their cavities treated owing to the myths regarding root canal treatment. If you believe that a root canal procedure would incur too much pain and require too many dental visits, you are probably unaware of the latest technology in dentistry. Visit The Elite Dental Care, the best dental clinic in Tracy, California for painless root canal treatment and other dental treatments and cosmetic dentistry.