Can you really prevent cavities? All of us are prone to tooth decay and the development of cavities.
Improving Dental Health and Reducing the Risk of Cavities
.What we eat and how we take care of our teeth greatly affect our dental health as does our genetic make up and the amount of fluoridation in our water supplies.
We can actively reduce the risk of developing dental cavities by understanding how to improve our dental health and general wellbeing.
What Causes the Development of Cavities?
The teeth are covered by protective enamel that prevents the development of holes in the tooth surface and the entry of disease causing organisms into the tooth.
When this protective surface breaks down, cracks and scratches appear on the tooth and this provides entry for the bacteria.
If left untreated, these bacteria can cause an infection and the typical pain of a tooth ache. Eventually the tooth will die, the root may be affected and serious health problems can result from the abscess formation that often accompanies a badly infected tooth.
Every day we eat sweet foods or foods that are high in acid content. We fail to clean our teeth and floss between them correctly and we resist going to the dentist for regular check-ups. Each of these contributes to the development of holes in the protective covering.
The bacteria that enter these holes live naturally in our mouth and saliva and regular cleaning of our teeth and repairing any holes that develop in the surface of the teeth helps to prevent the development of an infected tooth.
Signs of Decaying Teeth
The initial signs of decaying or infected teeth are either a discoloration of the surface of the tooth or a dull ache often in the jaw near the infected tooth. Some people also notice a painful sensitivity in the tooth to hot and cold foods.
Over time this ache develops into a relentless ache that may also be accompanied by fever or flu like symptoms.
Sometime there may be no symptoms, but when biting a hard vegetable or fruit, the infected tooth may break and the nerves within the tooth may be exposed leading to pain.
Treatment of Cavities and Decaying Teeth
The best cavity prevention is regular check-ups with your dentist who will be able to x-ray your teeth and identify areas of decay before they allow the bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
The dentist will usually fill the area to ensure that the developing hole is plugged with either a temporary or permanent filling. Sometimes if there is already infection present, the dentist will prescribe antibiotics before filling the hole.
If the hole in the tooth has already led to severe tooth decay, the dentist may suggest a complete tooth extraction with or without a repair to the nerves, known as a root canal procedure.
The dentist will also be able to advise you on the best way to be preventing cavities and to protect your teeth from further damage, by demonstrating the best cleaning and flossing methods for maintaining excellent oral hygiene.
As you see, it can be a lot easier and pain free to prevent cavities than have to deal with them and the dental problems they can cause.
Published February 2, 2012