While cavities are one of the most common illnesses in our day, they are also somewhat easily prevented. Tooth decay arises when harmful bacteria in the mouth react with sugar and starches from food, by producing acids which wear down tooth enamel. In the early stages, cavities can go undetected which is why it is important to keep annual dental checkups. Once tooth pain sets in more extensive intervention will be required to fix the damage.
3 Types of Cavities:
No. 1. Smooth surface cavities. These are on the outside smooth sides of teeth. The most preventable type, they are also the most easily reversed. They develop slowly, first as a white spot where bacteria dissolve the calcium on a tooth’s enamel. They begin in adult teeth between the ages of 20-30.
No. 2. Pit and fissure cavities start on the narrow grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth. They tend to show up in the teen years, and grow quickly. Hard to reach, they are difficult to clean. Dentists often recommend dental sealants on these back teeth to prevent dental caries.
No. 3. Root cavities show up on the root surface of a tooth. Found in older adults (past middle age) with receding gums, these can arise from poor oral hygiene, dry mouth from low saliva production and a diet high in sugar and starches, or a combination of these.
In the early stages of tooth decay, fluoride can help protect tooth enamel. Once decay spreads inside the tooth it will require a filling to drill out the decayed material and fill the space left behind to prevent bacterial access.
What you can do:
–Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
–Floss at least once a day between teeth and near the gum line.
–Keep all dental cleanings and checkups.
–If you are prone to cavities, try using a fluoride toothpaste to strengthen tooth enamel.
–Ask your dentist about dental sealants for your molars.
–Consume healthy foods from the recommended food groups.
–Keep snacking and sweetened beverages to a minimum.
If you would like more information, or to schedule your next dental cleaning, please give the team at Dr. Kenneth M. Schweizer’s dental office a call at 941-926-4888.