Prevention is the best weapon to avoid any ailment, and oral diseases are no exception. The most common of this type are cavities, where good prevention is vital to avoid suffering from this condition. Fortunately, preventing tooth decay isn’t as much hard work as you think. Dr Halina Montano from HSM Dental shares his top tips for keeping your teeth cavity free.
There are many ways to prevent cavities and while they are critical to good oral health, it is also important to know what causes cavities and how they impact our teeth and overall dental health.
In our mouth, as in many other parts of our body, different bacteria live. When we eat, these bacteria bind to those in the food we eat creating “plaque.” If we do not remove it, an acid is created that slowly attacks the dental tissues, destroying them, thus giving rise to the dreaded cavities.
Therefore, cavities are the breakage (smaller or larger) of dental tissue caused by the acids that bacterial plaque produces.
There are different causes or risk factors that explain the presence of cavities in our mouth, and they are:
- The consumption of sugar and acids: these foods increase the acidity of plaque and its destructive power.
- Inadequate hygiene: brushing your teeth poorly, few times, for a short time or not using dental floss and rinses, are one of the causes.
- Genetics and oral pH: they are difficult factors to control, both influence its appearance and little can be done against it.
- Taking medications: there are medications that contain sugar and another that causes dry mouth, both of which damage the oral enamel.
- Joined or crooked teeth. Since it causes dirt to accumulate and plaque is created.
To avoid cavities we must follow a routine of both hygiene and feeding, always having the following:
- Brush your teeth after every meal, for at least two minutes. First use the thread or the interproximal brushes and use a mouthwash when finished.
- Avoid sweets and be careful with acids. Avoid both pastries and other types of highly sugary foods and reduce the intake of soft drinks and juices. Highly acidic fruits, such as oranges and clementines can also cause cavities, it is important to brush your teeth well after consuming them.
- Drink plenty of water, dry mouth increases the risk of cavities, it is important to always keep it hydrated.
Symptoms of tooth decay
The symptoms of cavities are multiple and varied, the most common are: tooth sensitivity, perforation in the teeth, bad taste in the mouth (or bad breath), changes in the color of the pieces, dental abscesses (phlegmons) and even dental breaks . If you suffer from any of these symptoms, the best option is to go to your dental clinic for a check-up.
Treatments against cavities
Depending on how advanced the caries is, the specialist will recommend one treatment or another. The most common procedures are:
- Fluorine. When tooth decay is incipient, we can slow its progression and even restore enamel thanks to this treatment.
- Fillings. When caries is more advanced, the solution is to restore the tooth, removing the affected tissue and covering the hole with a specific paste.
- Endodontics. Caries can advance so much that it even affects the inside of the tooth, this is when abscesses (phlegmons) and discomfort usually appear. To solve it, the oral cavity is anesthetized to remove and replace the affected tissue (or nerve). Finally, the piece is filled or rebuilt.
- Covers or crowns. When the piece is badly damaged, thus preventing its functionality and damaging oral aesthetics, it is best to choose to cover it with a cover. Always after cleaning the affected tissue.
- Extraction. When caries affects the holding of the tooth, it must be removed, the best in these cases is to replace the tooth with an implant or assess the placement of a bridge.
In summary, good hygiene, nutrition and hydration are fundamental weapons if we want to win the battle against such unpleasant dental cavities. Also, do not forget to go to your dental clinic to perform your hygiene and routine checkups. In this fight, your dentist will be your best ally.