Cavities are one thing that many of us experience throughout our lifetime but they certainly aren’t fun and can be avoided. Children often get cavities, but they can occur at any age. Cavities are very common and considered a disease. Luckily, there are ways to prevent them and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.
At Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge, we can help check for cavities and treat them for you. The best starting point to preventing cavities is to understand them, how they occur, what they are, and what you can do to avoid them. In this blog, we are going to cover everything you need to know about cavities. Read on to learn more and be sure to schedule your dental cleaning today!
What Are Cavities?
When someone tells us after a dental appointment that they have cavities, we know that it’s not a good thing. We know that cavities are not fun to deal with and they usually require an additional dental appointment in order to take care of the problem. But do you actually know what a cavity is? Do you know what causes them? By understanding these things, you can better protect your teeth from cavities in the future.
As we already mentioned, a cavity is considered a disease. According to Ask The Dentist, nine out of 10 adults over the age of 20 have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is caused by acid erosion for the bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria breaks down foods and produces acid that destroys tooth enamel.
These holes cause the nerves in your teeth to become exposed, which leads to tooth pain, especially when eating or drinking. If you feel tooth pain near the root of your tooth, chances are you have a cavity and should see your dentist.
How Cavities Form
There are several factors that can lead to cavities, which can make it difficult to know how to prevent them. Instead of one singular thing causing cavities, it is often a combination of different factors that can lead to this type of decay. There are three main factors involved in the creation of a cavity.
These factors include:
- Your teeth and the saliva in your mouth
- The bacteria in your mouth
- The foods you choose to eat
While each of these alone won’t suddenly cause a cavity, the combination of these three things creates the perfect storm to cause cavities and decay. For the bacteria in your mouth to cause decay, it needs to use a combination of the proteins in saliva and food debris to stick to your teeth. Plaque begins to build up and cover the tooth’s surface with this bacteria. The bacteria in your mouth consumes the food that you eat and digest it fairly quickly.
The bacteria thrives off of easily digestible foods, which include things like crackers, potato chips, sugary foods, and basically anything processed. It is more difficult for the bacteria to digest fruits and vegetables because of the cellulose found in these foods.
After digesting the food you eat, the bacteria excrete an acid that can begin to dissolve the calcium in the tooth. If a colony of plaque stays in one spot on the tooth for too long, it can cause a hole to form.
How to Treat Cavities
Cavities are generally pretty simple to treat by your dentist. The basic treatment is a filling. This involves drilling away the decaying part of the tooth and replacing the cavity with a filling that is often made with porcelain, silver, gold, or amalgam.
If your tooth has more extensive decay, more advanced treatment may be needed. This includes treatments like a crown or root canal. If you think you have a cavity, be sure to schedule a dentist appointment so you can get it treated before it worsens. The best thing to do, however, is to try and prevent cavities from occurring in the first place!
How to Prevent Cavities
While the bacteria in your mouth creates acid that leads to tooth decay, your teeth are able to remineralize these decaying areas if you give them the opportunity to. By removing a colony of plaque, the acid will not have a chance to attack the same spot on the tooth for too long. This gives your tooth time to restore the calcium in the area that faced depletion.
How do you give your teeth time to restore themselves? Well, that is where brushing and flossing come into play! When you brush and floss your teeth, you are removing the plaque that may be causing your teeth to decay.
The saliva in your mouth also plays a role. Saliva dilutes the acid, which reduces its ability to dissolve teeth. While we sleep, however, our mouths stop producing saliva, which means that the bacteria and acid can attack your teeth more easily and effectively. This is why it is extremely important to brush and floss before bedtime. Removing those colonies of plaque before going to bed can help protect your teeth.
This is also why regular dental cleanings are important. With a dental cleaning, plaque that may be more difficult to remove can be scraped off of your teeth. While brushing and flossing can remove quite a bit of plaque, you will likely not be able to rid your mouth of all the plaque on your teeth. A dental cleaning can get these areas with more stubborn plaque, protecting your teeth from decay and other diseases. At Aspen Hill Dental, we offer dental cleanings and other dental services to help keep your mouth clean and healthy!
The best way to keep your mouth healthy and avoid cavities is to maintain a healthy routine. Brush twice a day, floss at least once, get regular cleanings, and try to choose healthier foods over processed ones. While cavities are common and can happen to everyone, they can be easy to prevent as long as you take proper care of your teeth and follow these tips!
Now that you know a little bit more about cavities, you can try your best to prevent them and encourage your children to do that same! If you think you may have a cavity, be sure to contact Aspen Hill Dental in Wheat Ridge. We will be able to help you get it treated right away and help you avoid more serious treatments. Contact us to schedule an appointment for your regular dental cleaning or to get any questions answered! Remember to brush and floss daily to prevent cavities.