What is Cavities?
Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the hard structure of your teeth which then form small holes or openings. This condition is also known as tooth decay or caries. A number of factors can contribute to cavities, such as bacteria in your mouth, drinking sugary drinks, eating snacks, and not brushing your teeth thoroughly.
Cavities are one of the most common health problems in the world. Anyone can experience cavities, including infants. However, cavities occur most often in children, adolescents and the elderly.
If cavities are not treated immediately, it is likely that they will enlarge and affect the deeper layers of your teeth. Your toothache will also get worse, which can lead to infection and tooth loss.
They can lead to severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and tooth decay.
You are recommended to check your teeth regularly through regular dental visits and brushing your teeth properly. This is the best protection against cavities and other tooth decay problems.
Causes of Cavities
Carbohydrate foods such as bread, cereal, candy, milk, soda, or sweet cakes stick to your teeth–which eventually may be the cause of tooth decay. The buildup of bacteria in your mouth can turn it into acid.
A mixture of food waste, bacteria, acids, and saliva will form plaque that sticks to your teeth. The acid content in plaque will dissolve tooth enamel which then causes cavities.
Therefore, you must regularly brush your teeth. By doing so, you invest in good oral health. As you age, your teeth will detach from the gums. This exposes the roots of your teeth to plaque. Frequent consumption of sugary and high carbohydrate foods may develop cavities in the future.
There are several factors that increase the risk of cavities, including:
- major erosion in tooth enamel caused by stomach acid,
- Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time
- Dry mouth and lack of saliva to wash away food and dental plaque.
- Inadequate brushing after eating and drinking will cause plaque and decay
- Lack of fluoride, a mineral found in toothpaste, mouthwash, and tap water.
When to See a Doctor for Cavities
Your dentist can detect tooth decay in the following ways:
- Checking the condition of your mouth and teeth.
- Asking about your toothache and the level of sensitivity.
- Examining your teeth using to check the soft areas of your teeth
- Examining your dental X-ray that shows the extent of the cavity in the tooth and the severity of the damage
After the exam is complete, your doctor will tell you what type of cavity you have and determine the most appropriate treatment.
Symptoms of Cavities
Every person has different symptoms of cavities, depending on the size and location of the cavity. When a new opening or hole forms, you may not have any symptoms at all. However, when the decaying occurs, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Sensitive teeth.
- Holes in your teeth
- Pain when biting into something.
- Toothache for no apparent reason.
- Brown, black, or white colour on the tooth’s surface.
- Mild to throbbing pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold.
Treatment for Cavities
Regular dental visits can identify problems with tooth decay early on. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances to treat your tooth decay problem and prevent worsened condition.
Treatment for cavities depends on the severity of your tooth decay. Several treatment options for cavities may include
- Fluoride treatment is given as a liquid, gel, or foam to restore tooth enamel and cavities in its earliest stages. In fluoride treatment, the fluoride content is greater than the amount of fluoride content in toothpaste, mouthwash, and tap water.
- Fillings. Fillings or restoration is the main treatment when decay past its earliest stages. Fillings are made of several materials such as tooth-colored composite resins
- Crowns. It is a denture cover that is placed over a damaged tooth. It is shaped like a crown which functions to protect teeth from decay and improves your tooth’s appearance.
- Root canals. When decay reaches the inner lining of your teeth (pulp), you may need a root canal. This treatment works to repair badly damaged or infected tooth rather than removing them. Sometimes, medication is inserted into the root canal of the tooth to clear any infection.
- Tooth extractions. Some teeth become so severely decayed that they can’t be restored and must be removed. Having a tooth pulled out can leave a gap that allows your other teeth to slide. If possible, consider getting a dental implant to replace the extracted tooth.
Treatment Cost for Cavities
Treatment cost for cavities may vary depending on the treatment method recommended by your dentist, such as fillings, tooth extraction, or medications.
For more details regarding the estimated cost of treating cavities at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Cavities
Although cavities can be treated, it’s even better to prevent than cure. Tooth decay can happen to anyone. Below are some suggestions for you to start implementing a healthy lifestyle to prevent cavities and serious tooth damage in the future:
- Eat a balanced nutritious diet and eat fewer snacks.
- Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride if you are at risk for cavities.
- Drink fluoride-containing water to significantly reduce tooth decay.
- Regularly brush your teeth after eating and drinking sweet and high carbohydrates.
- Brush your teeth 2 times a day using a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
- Get regular dental visits
Home Remedies for Cavities
Some people prefer to use natural remedies over products that contain fluoride. You can treat cavities with home remedies such as:
- Vitamin D has a mineralizing effect that strengthens tooth enamel.
- Avoid phytic acid content as phytic acid can damage tooth enamel.
- Aloe vera helps fight bacteria that cause cavities.
- Chew sugar-free gum, to reduce the levels of bacteria that damage tooth enamel.
- Oil pulling helps reduce plaque, remineralize tooth enamel, and prevent cavities.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks. Sugar consumption is the main cause of cavities. Sugar content will mix with bacteria in your mouth and form acids that damage tooth enamel.
Have more questions about cavities? Write in the comment section below. You can also do tele-consultations with a dentist of your choice at home and abroad through Smarter Health.