One of the most compelling reasons to regularly brush and floss your teeth is to avoid cavities. But what exactly are cavities, and how do they form in the first place? Understanding how cavities form and what you can do to prevent them is vital in maintaining stellar oral health.
What a Cavity Is
A cavity is a small, permanent hole in your tooth that is a result of advanced decay. Early-stage tooth decay is a temporary weakening of the tooth that can be reversed with improved oral habits. However, cavities indicate permanent damage to the tooth. The holes may look black or brown to the naked eye, but most often, you cannot see them at home. You may experience sensitivity, a toothache, or bad breath if you are suffering from a cavity.
How Cavities Form
You are more likely to develop a cavity when you let bacteria and food residue buildup on the surface of your teeth. Bacteria feed off of the sugary residue, which releases acid that breaks down your enamel. Cavities form from tartar as well. Tartar builds up when plaque is not brushed and flossed away. Tartar then irritates gums and causes them to recede from the teeth, forming pockets that expose sensitive teeth roots to bacteria and infection.
What Happens if Cavities Are Untreated
Once cavities form, you must treat them or risk further damage. If you leave a cavity untreated, the decay grows deeper and eventually infects the tooth pulp. The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth, and if it is infected and damaged, you will require a root canal. If you catch cavities early, a simple filling can be all you need to treat the damage.
How to Prevent Cavities
You can prevent cavities by brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes at a time. You can also avoid cavities by eating a balanced diet, avoiding tobacco products, chewing sugar-free gum, and drinking plenty of water. Limit your consumption of sweets and sugary treats as well as juice and soda. Cavity prevention is easier and less costly than treatment, but if you maintain regular dental checkups, your dentist should be able to catch cavities before they worsen. When you treat cavities early, you avoid long-lasting damage to your oral health.
You Can Trust Olney Dental for All of Your Dental Care Needs
For all of your oral care questions and concerns, Olney Dental has the expertise and professionalism to get them the answers they need. Olney Dental is ready to supply you with expert service in a professional environment. Schedule an appointment online today! For more information on how we can give your family the best dentist experience available, give us a call at (301) 250-1057 or contact us online. For more dental tips, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.