If you’re like most adults, you have probably had at least one cavity in your life. Getting a filling is no fun, though, so you might be wondering how you can avoid this common dental problem.
The dental cavity problem is a complex one that occurs in multiple stages. If left unchecked, cavities will continue to grow, spreading deeper into the tooth. Without a filling to stop the decay, you can end up losing your tooth.
One way for Wilmington residents to avoid dental cavities is to stay current with twice yearly visits to the dentist.
How cavities develop
The cause of cavities is a complex process that starts with plaque that builds up on teeth. Sugary foods and drinks in particular feed the bacteria in your mouth. When sugars aren't cleaned from the teeth, the bacteria produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria to form a sticky film called plaque.
After plaque has formed, acids will wear down the outer layer of the tooth, or the enamel. Next, the acid and bacteria will strike the layer beneath it, called the dentin.
When left untreated, bacteria and plaque will continue their path of destruction, all the way down to the pulp of the tooth. By this time, you’ll probably have a lot of sensitivity in your tooth and you might even have a toothache.
What to do about cavities
Most of the time, you won’t even feel a cavity when it first forms because it is so small. Only your dentist can spot them at this stage, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to see your dentist regularly. It’s best to take care of cavities when they are small.
Keep in mind that many cavities are preventable with proper oral care and eating a diet of healthy foods. Brushing at least twice and flossing at least once a day will go a long way toward protecting your oral health. If you are especially prone to cavities, you might ask your Wilmington dentist about special treatment for cavity prevention, such as fluoride.
Get your dental exam with your Wilmington dentist
Has it been a while since your last dental appointment? Call Dr. Mark C. Gladnick today!