As we approach daylight savings, it is important to note that the same cannot be done for our teeth. Research has indicated that one out of every five Americans has untreated cavities. Cavities can affect individuals of all ages, including infants and children, and can be influenced by various factors such as daily oral hygiene practices, diet, and family dental history. Dry mouth, which is a common oral condition that leads to bad breath, can also increase the likelihood of cavity formation. Dry mouth is often observed in individuals who use tobacco and alcohol or take specific medications, as well as in aging individuals and those undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Cavities develop when oral bacteria feed on sugary and starchy foods, producing acids that wear down the tooth enamel and form small holes. These holes usually occur in hard-to-clean areas such as the molars' grooves, between the teeth, and along the gum line. Indications of cavities may include tenderness in the gums, tooth sensitivity to hot or cold items, tooth pain that interrupts sleep, dark stains, small holes, pain when biting down, or soft areas on the teeth.
Fortunately, preventing cavities can be quite simple by following basic guidelines such as reducing sweet and soda intake, brushing teeth at least twice a day, flossing once daily, rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash, and scheduling routine dental cleanings with a dentist at least twice a year. For those prone to cavities, products with fluoride or dental sealants can offer added protection to tooth enamel.
Identifying cavities in their early stages can save both time and money, as treating them is less invasive. Early-stage cavities can typically be treated with a simple dental filling. In the case of more extensive cavities, a root canal treatment may be necessary, while a crown may be used to repair a severely broken tooth. If a tooth is lost, a dental crown, bridge, or implant may be required to prevent surrounding teeth from shifting.
The best way to prevent cavities is by practicing daily oral hygiene and scheduling regular dental check-ups. To determine if any cavities exist or to treat an existing cavity, individuals are encouraged to contact dental professionals for an examination. Maintaining healthy teeth is critical, and our team is eager to assist you in achieving that goal.