Despite being highly preventable, cavities and tooth decay remain among the most common diseases. A cavity occurs when the tooth weakens due to acids from plaque. Acids attack and demineralize the tooth enamel which is the main component of the tooth.
Cavities start as a minor tooth discolouration. But if left untreated, the enamel will continuously erode to cause tiny openings or holes in the tooth. This will eventually spread deeper to the nerves of the tooth and may cause varying levels of pain.
At Springbank Dental, we focus our treatments on preventive dentistry. When it comes to cavities, proper toothbrushing, flossing, and routine dental visits are keys to prevention. Aside from these, here are some other simple things you can do to prevent cavities.
Know your cavity risk level.
Every patient is different. And unfortunately, some are more prone to developing cavities. It may be because of genetics or a disease that involves weak enamel.
Aside from these, other risk factors to consider also include:
- Aging – younger patients are more prone to cavities because they have yet to establish a proper hygiene routine to take care of their teeth.
- Too thick or too thin saliva – saliva helps to wash off debris and plaque, so if it is too thin, plaque will remain stuck on the tooth. Such also happens if the saliva is too thick as debris will stick easily.
- Inadequate fluoride – fluoride is a mineral that strengthens the tooth by protecting it against acids. Too little fluoride means that the tooth is more susceptible to caries.
- Diet – frequent consumption of carbohydrates and sugar makes the teeth particularly prone to tooth decay.
- Poor oral hygiene – Neglected and inconsistent dental care maintenance increases the cavity risk because plaque and food debris are not removed.
Cavity risk levels are assessed through a comprehensive dental examination. Your dentist will determine if any conditions may increase your likelihood of getting cavities. With this information, preventive measures can be established such as improving your diet and enhancing your dental health with a proper hygiene routine and fluoride treatment.
Establish proper dental health maintenance
Toothbrushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth are core dental care steps that should be integrated into your hygiene routine. Generally, toothbrushing should be done twice a day for 2 minutes. Then, floss in between the teeth to remove any stuck debris. Lastly, rinse with mouthwash for a whole mouth clean and fresher breath.
This is what a routine oral health routine should look like. But did you know that this is not the same for everyone?
A quick visit to your dentist for a check-up can help determine what is best for your teeth. At Springbank Hill Dental, we personalize our patients’ hygiene care depending on their oral health needs, ultimately preventing cavities.
Some patients may need to brush their teeth after every meal, especially for those with braces. Prescription mouthwashes may also be recommended for those who have gum or periodontal disease.
Also, if you are prone to cavities, the usual bi-annual dental visits may not suffice. Your dentist may recommend dental check-ups and cleaning every 4 months just to make sure that your teeth are in tip-top shape.
Floss, floss, floss (we promise, it’s easy once you start)
Flossing is an integral part of your oral health care routine that is, unfortunately, usually neglected. Despite proper toothbrushing, if you do not floss between your teeth, there will still be gray areas in the mouth that will be left with plaque and other cavity-inducing debris and bacteria.
Flossing is done in a C-shaped or zigzag manner. Gently slide the floss in between your teeth and glide it against both sides. This scrapes off dirt that may cause both tooth decay and gum disease.
Cut back on sugary and acidic food and drinks — stay hydrated!
The mouth is full of bacteria that feed on sugars and release acids as the waste product. Acid is most notorious for causing cavities because it eats away the enamel and weakens the tooth, making it more prone to decay. With frequent consumption of sugars and acids, your teeth may wear out easily.
But if you have a sweet tooth, here are some helpful tips for you to combat cavities!
Water does magic when it comes to maintaining your oral health. It washes off leftover food and bacteria that may cause cavities. Water also helps to neutralize the acids in the mouth, preventing them from damaging your teeth.
- Wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth
While you may think that brushing after eating your favourite cupcake or candy is a good way to go, this actually does more harm than good. The pH level of the mouth after eating is slightly more acidic. Brushing the teeth in this state will damage the enamel. Instead, wait about 30 minutes and allow the enamel to naturally remineralize before you do your brushing.
Lastly, re-assess your diet and make sure you are taking in enough nutrients to strengthen your teeth and improve your overall health. Dairy is a good source of calcium which can enhance the tooth enamel. Leafy greens and fibre-rich foods are also some of the best foods to fight off cavities.
Did you know that there is a significant correlation between smoking and increased risk of cavities? It is noted that a higher percentage of Canadians who smoke have root decay.
Smoking causes several dental problems including tooth decay, gum and periodontal disease, and tooth loss. It supports bacteria, plaque, and tartar build-up which can cause cavities. Also, it weakens the immune system and compromises the body’s ability to fight off cavity-causing bacteria.
Prevent Cavities with Springbank Hill Dental
If it has been a while since your last dental check-up and teeth cleaning, it may be time to schedule one today with Springbank Hill Dental.
Our friendly and skilled dental team can spot early signs of cavities and provide treatment before it gets worse. We also practice preventive dental care with routine prophylaxis and X-rays when necessary to help you and your family prevent cavities.