According to the World Health Organization, cavities are the most common health condition in the world. What makes this so unfortunate is that cavities can be easily prevented with basic oral care. To help you avoid this common problem, we’ve compiled the most essential information about cavities and what you can do to help prevent them.
Cavities can occur for many reasons including lifestyle, diet, and genetics. However, they are usually caused by poor oral care and the buildup of plaque. You can prevent cavities with good at-home oral care and regular dental cleanings. At My Family Dentistry, we offer the Advantage Program to help cover all your preventative oral care costs.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities are another term for tooth decay, which is a result of a variety of factors, including your:
- Oral care habits, including using fluoride toothpaste
Also known as dental caries, cavities tend to be more common in children. However, everyone is still susceptible to them to some degree, especially adults with dry mouth. You can also experience different types of cavities, including:
- Coronal cavities
- Root cavities
- Recurrent decay
Coronal cavities are the type most people are familiar with. They’re the most common type found in children and adults, usually located between teeth or on the chewing surface of your teeth. Root cavities are a result of receding gums, usually due to age. The roots of your teeth lack tooth enamel to protect them, leaving them exposed to the acids in plaque.
Another type of cavity patients may experience is recurrent decay. This typically occurs after a cavity has been treated with a filling or crown. While the cavity has been treated, fillings and crowns have a tendency to accumulate plaque, which can actually lead to more decay if not cared for correctly.
What Causes Cavities?
Bacteria does more than stain your teeth and cause bad breath — it is also the prime culprit for developing cavities. What’s more, bacteria can also lead to other major oral health issues later on, including gum disease, tooth abscess, or even root decay. They may even require root canals if not treated quickly and appropriately.
When not properly protected against, the harmful bacteria in your mouth can eventually develop into a sticky, clear film known as plaque. It occurs when you consume foods and drinks full of starches and sugars. The harmful bacteria in your mouth begin to feed off the starches and sugars, resulting in more plaque developing and possibly leading to cavities.
Plaque contains acids that begin to strip minerals from the hard outer shell of your teeth. As these minerals are stripped away, the bacteria and acids reach the dentin, the soft second layer of your teeth. Dentin is less resistant to acid and contains tiny tubes that are connected to the nerves of your teeth, resulting in sensitivity.
Once it has reached the dentin, the bacteria and acids move to the inner parts of your teeth where the pulp is located. The pulp becomes swollen and irritated, which is made worse since it contains blood vessels and nerves. These nerves become pressed resulting in pain as the pulp expands inside the tooth, possibly even reaching down to the bone.
The effects of cavities can have a broad-ranging impact on your oral as well as overall health. To protect yourself from these complications, it’s important to take the proper steps to prevent them from occurring in the first place.
Click here to learn more about gum disease!
How To Prevent Tooth Decay
The best way to prevent cavities is with good oral care. This includes:
- Brushing with fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing at least once per day
- Regular visits to your dentist and hygienist
- Dental sealants
- Drinking water
Brushing twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste is essential if you want to prevent cavities. However, no at-home oral care regimen is complete without flossing at least once per day after eating. Combined with regular visits to your dentist for cleanings and checkups, you’ll be setting yourself up for optimum oral health for years to come.
Dental sealants can also play an important role in protecting your teeth from cavities. They act as a protective coating to seal off the chewing surfaces of your back teeth and can last for several years. Drinking water can act as a natural mouthwash, removing debris from your teeth that can contribute to the development of plaque later on.
It’s best to know what to expect if you experience dental anxiety or simply haven’t seen a dentist in a while. At My Family Dentistry, Dr. Mullins and Dr. Owen work to ensure that you have the best visit to the dentist possible, helping you to achieve a healthy smile that lasts for years.
To read our article on the importance of dental cleanings in Powell, TN, click here!
We start every cleaning with a physical exam followed by removing any plaque or tartar present on your teeth. Next, we brush your teeth with gritty toothpaste that removes anything from the surface that shouldn’t be there. This is followed by a professional flossing and rinse, topped off with a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth until your next appointment.
At My Family Dentistry, we believe that everyone should have access to quality dental care. That’s why we have introduced the My Family Dentistry Advantage Program. It’s our in-house subscription program that provides 100% of your preventative care for between $32 – $75 per month.
- 2 professional cleanings per year
- 1 periodic exam per year
- 2 fluoride treatments per year
- 4 bitewing X-rays once per year
- 1 set of FMX/panoramic X-rays every 5 years
- 1 emergency exam per year (if needed)
- 15% off all other treatments (some exclusions may apply)
- $99 Lifetime Activation Fee includes the first month
Do you need preventative care to help prevent cavities for you and your family? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!
Your lifestyle, diet, and even genetics can play a role in developing cavities. However, most cases are the result of poor dental hygiene leading to plaque buildup. This can be prevented with regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings. To cover your preventative oral care costs, we now offer the My Family Dentistry Advantage Program.