Cavities are One of the Greatest Dangers for Your Teeth
From the moment our teeth start growing in, we are told to take extremely good care of them. After all, our teeth are vital to our overall health. They help us eat by breaking down food. They can also be a point of pride for many as a good smile can improve people’s self-esteem. While we are constantly told about the importance of proper dental hygiene, not everyone practices these techniques.
Children especially struggle to adequately keep up with caring for their teeth. However, one in four adults have a cavity as well as nearly half of all teenagers in the U.S. Without the proper cleaning, our teeth will be in danger of tooth decay. One of the greatest dangers to our teeth is cavities. It is important to understand how dangerous cavities are to your overall oral hygiene and how to prevent them.
What are Cavities?
Cavities are essentially just another way of describing tooth decay. When a tooth begins to break down, a hole will start to grow in your tooth, growing deeper and larger over time. Cavities occur when plaque, a soft, slimy film containing bacteria, begins to build up more and more on your teeth. As the amount increases, an acid is produced that begins to eat through the enamel of your tooth, developing a hole in your tooth. The larger the cavity grows, the greater the chance it can eventually affect the tooth root.
The bacteria in your plaque thrive from eating sugar from the foods and drinks you consume. If the sugars you consume aren’t properly and swiftly cleaned off of your teeth, the bacteria will then feed off of them and produce enamel-eating acid. Sodas, candy, cakes, high-sugar fruits, and cereals all contain sugar that can aid in tooth decay.
In some instances, however, heredity and the genes you inherit may also increase your risk of developing cavities.
How to Prevent Cavities
As we have grown older, through losing our baby teeth to developing our permanent ones, we have always been told of the importance of proper tooth care. However, there are many steps to preventing cavities from forming in your mouth. Here are a few tips that can help you prevent cavity growth:
- Get a Comprehensive Dental Exam: This may arguably be your most important tool in defending your teeth from cavities. While this will not initially protect your teeth from the start, a comprehensive dental exam will provide you with the information needed to know your cavity risk level. A dentist will be able to inform you of your oral hygiene and what changes in lifestyle or diet you may need. Once you know your risk level, you can begin to take a more active approach to prevent cavities.
- Brush and Floss Daily: Many of us may feel as though we have been told this to no end, but that is because of how important these practices are to our oral hygiene. Dentists recommend that we brush our teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. They also advise thoroughly flossing once a day. Brushing and flossing help get rid of bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth. The American Dental Association even has some tooth brushing recommendations you can find here.
- Improve Your Diet: This is not the same as when it comes to losing weight, but the two can go hand in hand. Removing dangerous sugars and starches from your diet can greatly decrease your chances of developing cavities. Even if you still want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee, limit the time spent drinking it and immediately rinse or clean your mouth following. Also, drinking more water will help in the fight against tooth decay.
- Note: For those that are frequent smokers, smoking is not only bad for your overall health but can be detrimental to your oral hygiene. It will speed up the process of developing cavities. If you are a smoker, quit smoking to help prevent cavities.
- Regularly Visit Your Dentist: Even if you have improved the foods and drinks you consume and practice the appropriate oral care tricks, you won’t be able to clean everything. It is crucial for your oral health to visit your dental care expert at least twice a year. This will allow you to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned, and your dentist will be able to properly asses the health of your teeth.
No one wants to get a cavity. They are painful, hurt your oral health, and can affect how your smile looks. It is important to take the highest level of care possible to prevent tooth decay. Enlisting the help of a trusted dental expert will put you and your teeth in a better position to fight cavities. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas is staffed with dental experts who possess the skills and knowledge needed to help you improve your oral hygiene.