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What Is A Cavity?

A cavity, also called caries, is a permanently damaged area in the teeth that develop into tiny holes. Cavities are caused by a combination of several factors – the bacteria present in the mouth, sipping sugary drinks and consuming sugary foods, frequent snacking, and not cleaning the teeth well.

What Causes Cavities?

  • Tooth location
  • Certain foods and drinks
  • Frequent snacking or sipping
  • Inadequate brushing
  • Not getting enough fluoride
  • Dry mouth
  • Worn fillings or dental devices
  • Heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Eating disorders

Cavity Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of cavities can vary, depending on their extent and their location in the mouth. During the initial stage, you may not experience any symptoms at all. However, if the decay is left untreated for long, it can get worse and cause the following symptoms:

  • Spontaneous toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity and pain while consuming sweet, hot, or cold food
  • Visible holes or pits in the teeth
  • Brown, white, or black dental stains
  • Pain when you bite down

Say Goodbye To Cavities

By following regular at-home oral hygiene practices and by adopting healthy food habits, it is possible to reduce the likelihood of tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.

Now, let us have a look at the recommendations of the American Dental Association (ADA) on how to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice daily using fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between the teeth daily.
  • Rinse your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash.
  • Limit snacking and consumption of sugary foods. Follow a nutritious and balanced diet and eat tooth-healthy foods.
  • Ask your dentist about preventive measures to prevent tooth decay and cavities. Check about the use of supplemental fluoride and the use of dental sealants. Fluoride can help strengthen the teeth, while dental sealants when applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, protect them from decay.
  • If you are vulnerable to tooth decay and cavities because of some medical conditions, ask your dentist about antibacterial mouth rinses or other treatments to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth.
  • Never skip your regular dental cleanings and oral examination.
  • A combination of at-home oral hygiene habits along with the use of xylitol-based chewing gum, prescription fluoride, and an antibacterial rinse can prevent the occurrence of cavities.

Dr. Peter Yeh, DDS at Covington Signature Dentistry, helps patients prevent tooth decay and cavities with preventive dentistry. Call our dental office at (253) 638-9955 or schedule an appointment online.

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