Jul 24

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Tooth Cavity- Reasons, symptoms and prevention

happy dent with germsCavities — also known as caries — are small openings or holes in the teeth caused by tooth decay. They form as a result of built-up plaque and bacteria on the surface of the teeth, poor dental hygiene, and (according to some dentists) a lack of essential minerals in the diet.

Reasons for tooth cavity

How does a cavity form?
Two main factors contribute to tooth decay — bacteria in the mouth and a diet high in sugar and starch. There are over 500 different types of bacteria that are normally present in the mouth. These bacteria combine with food and saliva to form a sticky substance called plaque that attaches to teeth. Foods rich in starches add to the stickiness of the plaque, which begins to get hard if it remains on the teeth after a couple of days and turns into tartar or calculus. Bacteria in the plaque convert sugar into acid that dissolves the tooth structure, causing holes, or cavities.

Symptoms of tooth cavity
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain when you bite down

Some cavities (especially those at the back of the mouth or between teeth) will be invisible to the naked eye and may not cause any pain. These types of cavities can only be identified through x-rays, ultrasound or fluorescent lighting – which is why it is important to see your dentist regularly.
How to prevent cavity

  • Commit to a daily oral health routine. Daily follow 3 basic steps to better dental health. Brushing, flossing and refreshingBrush twice a day. It is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before bedtime. However, brushing is required whenever you eat any sugary foods or foods full of processed carbs.
  • Floss at least once a day. Floss once a day (before brushing) to remove any trapped bacteria from between the teeth. The more bacteria you can remove, the slower you existing cavity will progress.Many people never learned to floss as children. But flossing is critical to healthy gums and it’s never too late to start.
  • Rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash. A good antibacterial mouthwash will remove excess bacteria from the mouth. You can use hydrogen peroxide for this purpose – which has the added bonus of whitening teeth.
  • Chew sugarless gum. Some sugarless gums can actually help you to avoid cavities, as chewing them increases saliva production, helping to get rid of food particles trapped between the teeth.
  • Use fluoride products - Everyone can benefit from fluoride, not just children. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children. It also helps prevent decay in adults and children. Toothpastes and mouthwashes are good sources of fluoride. Your dentist can prescribe a stronger concentration of fluoride in a gel, toothpaste or rinse if you need it.
  • Avoid Sodas- Candy isn’t the only culprit when it comes to added sugar. Sodas can have up to 11 teaspoons of sugar per serving. To add insult to injury, sodas also contain phosphoric and citric acids, which eat away at tooth enamel. Diet soft drinks let you skip the sugar, but they may have even more acid in the form of the artificial sweeteners.
  • Avoid Potato Chips- The bacteria in plaque will also break down starchy foods into acid. This acid can attack the teeth for the next 20 minutes — even longer if the food is stuck between the teeth or you snack often. You might want to floss after eating potato chips or other starchy foods that tend to get stuck in the teeth.
  • Avoid Constant Snacking – Snacking produces less saliva than a meal, leaving food bits in your teeth for hours longer. Avoid snacking too frequently, and stick to snacks that are low in sugar and starch — for example, carrot sticks.
  • Avoid Drinking Coffee- Coffee’s dark colour and acidity can cause yellowing of the teeth over time. Fortunately, it’s one of the easiest stains to treat with various whitening methods. Talk to your dentist if you’re concerned about discoloration of your teeth.
  • Avoid certain foods and drinks. Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time — such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy, breath mints, dry cereal, and chips — are more likely to cause decay than foods that are easily washed away by saliva.
  • Avoid Smoking- Cigarettes, tobacco products, even wines can stain teeth and cause them to fall out as a result of gum disease. Tobacco can also cause cancer of the mouth, lips, and tongue.

Most dentists believe that drilling and filling is the only way to deal with cavities, and that once the tooth decay process has begun, there is no way to stop it. So we say prevention is better than cure. Try to save your teeth from the cavity by taking healthy diet and following the above said points given to prevent tooth cavity.

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