Cavities are among the most common dental issues. These tiny bacteria-caused holes can become an uncomfortable nuisance if not taken care of quickly and with the help of an oral care specialist.
A common misconception is that cavities can heal independently, but this is not true. Cavities are a form of tooth decay that permanently alters the tooth’s structure and needs medical attention to be resolved.
One way to prevent or treat cavities is to book regular cleanings with your dentists and have them examine your teeth for any signs of deterioration. At Maplebrook Dental, our friendly staff can help you book your next cleaning.
What Causes Cavities?
Several contributing factors may be responsible for causing a cavity to develop, including the following:
Bacteria is normal, and everyone has bacteria in their mouth, but plaque will start forming after eating different foods and drinks with sugar. The plaque will slowly begin to erode the tooth’s enamel, eventually turning to decay if left untreated.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Poor oral hygiene is a major cause of cavities. Without proper brushing and flossing, plaque will continue to build up on your teeth and erode your enamel. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least daily.
Sugar & Carbohydrates
Your diet can have a significant impact on your dental health. For example, a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates is more likely to result in cavities. It’s recommended that you avoid eating too many starchy foods like sweetened cereal and bread or acidic foods like sodas and fruit juices. If you do consume these products, try rinsing with water afterwards.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities are a type of tooth decay that happens when the tooth’s enamel has eroded, causing a hole to form. A cavity left untreated can grow bigger, cause discomfort, and lead to the loss of a tooth.
Signs You Have a Cavity
Here are some common signs that you might have a cavity that needs treating:
- An existing filling is cracked
- You are experiencing toothache
- Your tooth feels sensitive
- Your tooth has a dark spot or chipping
- Discomfort when consuming sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks
- Discomfort when chewing or biting down on your teeth
Tips for Reducing Discomfort
If you are experiencing discomfort due to your cavity or tooth, please book an appointment with your dentist so they can examine your teeth. In the meantime, consider using over-the-counter medicine or an ice pack to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
How to Treat a Cavity?
Cavities will need to be treated by an oral care specialist, and if left untreated, symptoms will likely progress. Here are some of the common ways your cavity might be treated:
If you catch signs of a cavity in its early stages, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment to help restore your tooth’s enamel and prevent it from developing. Fluoride treatments come in liquid, varnish, and foam forms that are applied to your teeth.
Fillings are the most common treatment option for cavities, which involves removing the decayed area of the tooth and replacing it with tooth-coloured composite, porcelain, or a combination of various other materials.
A root canal may be needed if your cavity has progressed deeper into your tooth. The procedure is done to try and save the tooth from needing to be removed.
Crowns are typically used on weakened teeth to provide structure. The procedure starts by removing the decayed area and fitting the tooth with metal, gold, porcelain, or other material to replace its natural crown.
Tips for Preventing Cavities
The best way to treat a cavity is by preventing it from happening in the first place. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your teeth healthy and safe:
Constantly snacking or slowly sipping your soda means more time for your teeth to be in contact with the sugar. If you plan to drink some fruit juice or eat a cookie, consider sitting down and enjoying your meal or rinsing your mouth with water afterwards.
Drink Lots of Water & Eat Healthily
Drinking plenty of water and eating a well-balanced and healthy diet are great ways to take care of your oral health. Avoid eating and drinking too many sugary and acidic foods to help prevent cavities from developing.
Book Regular Dental Cleanings
The Canadian Dental Association recommends booking an appointment with your dentist every six months. Regular appointments allow them to check up on your oral health and watch for any abnormalities or developing conditions.