Cavities occur when the hard surfaces of teeth become damaged. Small holes form, which can get larger as the cavity worsens. According to the Mayo Clinic, cavities, which are also known as tooth decay or caries, can eventually cause pain in the tooth, infection and even the loss of a tooth if not treated. Fortunately, there are a number of steps that you can take to lower your risk.
Brush with a fluoride toothpaste
It is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially right before bed. Brushing can get rid of food particles that form the plaque that causes the teeth to break down. Fluoride can even help the teeth with slight damage repair themselves. Mouth rinses may have fluoride as well, as does tap water. Unless your bottled water has as an additive, you will not have it.
Brushing alone cannot usually rid the mouth of all of the food particles that can cause damage. Food gets stuck in between teeth, and there it stays indefinitely unless you floss to get it out. You should floss once a day, ideally right before bed.
Go for biannual cleanings and exams
It is far easier to take care of a small cavity than to wait for one to get worse. You should visit your dentist twice a year. The hygienist can provide a superior cleaning that can get rid of particles you missed on your own. The dentist can see if you have any problem areas and provide a strategy for lowering your risk.
Don’t have too much sugar
Certain foods increase the risk of cavities. Most people know that sugar, which is not good for your health, is also terrible for your teeth. It stays on the teeth for a while and is more resistant to being taken away by the saliva, which makes it more likely to cause cavities. Other foods that can cause problems include honey, soda, raisins, cake, candy, ice cream, milk and chips. Also, every time you eat, you build the acid that can cause cavities. Eating more frequently places you at a greater risk.
For children and people who are at greater risk of cavities, the dentist can add sealants to their teeth. They coat and cure a thin clear material on the surfaces of teeth, which prevents the food particles from getting in and causing damage.
Cavities are common, but in many cases they are easily preventable. The more you do to reduce your risk, the less chance you will have them.