How Do You Prevent Cavities?

One of the things no one wants to hear during a dental check-up is that they have a dental cavity. Cavities are one of the most common dental ailments. They are common symptom of dental decay and often precede worse dental issues including the need for root canals or tooth extraction if they are not treated. In this article we will cover how cavities form, how to tell if you have a cavity, and how to prevent cavities. For dental services in Lawrence MA click below to schedule an appointment. 

What Are Dental Cavities

The terms cavities and fillings are sometimes used by patients interchangeably even though they are technically opposites. A dental cavity is a hole or indent on a tooth caused by dental decay. By contrast, a dental filling is the procedure that involves removing the decayed section of the tooth and then filling the indent or the hole with an appropriate material. Dental cavities form when sugars and bacteria begin a process called demineralization. This happens to the tooth enamel or the outermost layer of a tooth. You may have heard of a “reversible” cavity. Depending on what dentist you ask, cavities are either reversible or they aren’t and this is because it depends on when a dentist calls a cavity a cavity. When the damage has just started to begin, only the enamel is affected. With proper brushing, flossing, follow-up dental treatments, and other helpful elements like fluoride toothpaste, it is possible stop and reverse the damage without a filling. But once the decay has spread past the enamel into the dentin, a filling is almost always necessary. The decayed section of the dentin is drilled away and a filling is bonded to the remaining tooth. 

How Can I Tell If I Have A Cavity?

The best way to know if you have a cavity is to ask a dentist to look. Unfortunately, our nerves are not near the surface our teeth. By the time we start to feel the signs of a cavity or see an actual hole/indent into the tooth the cavity is already very far along. Ideally, a cavity should be discovered and treated well before then. Dental exams and X-rays are the most effective way to discover if there is either a cavity or the beginnings of tooth decay. At that point a dentist can make recommendations to prevent further deterioration of your teeth. 

How Do I Prevent Cavities?

There are a few ways to prevent dental cavities. The most common method that comes to mind is practicing good oral care. Brushing your teeth for two minutes at a time with quality toothpaste twice per day, and flossing your teeth at least once per day can help decrease how much time bacteria and sugar sits on your teeth. However, there are other things you can do. Avoiding acidic foods and beverages, decreasing your sugar intake, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking, can also improve your oral health. On top of that, nothing beats a dental visit. A dental visit protects your teeth in two key ways. First, an exam helps find issues before they grow. Early decay signs might be reversible today but a cavity in the future. A cavity today could be a root canal or an infection later on. The second way a dentist helps is with a cleaning. Professional cleanings remove more plaque and bacteria than your toothbrush and floss can. Even if you brush and floss perfectly every day of your life, nothing beats a professional in-office cleaning at removing plaque. 

Schedule Dental Exams and Cleanings in Lawrence

If you live in the Lawrence Massachusetts area and need to schedule a professional cleaning or dental exam, please click below or give our office a call for more information. 

Call Varinos Dental