While it is never fun for your dentist to discover that you have a cavity, it is fairly common to face tooth decay at one time or another. Plaque buildup is the leading cause of tooth decay, which occurs when a thin layer of sticky, colorless bacteria forms on the teeth. Whenever we consume sugary foods and beverages, these bacteria produce harmful acids in our mouth, which then begin to weaken and destroy the tooth’s hard outer surface. When plaque isn’t removed through regular brushing and flossing, it can progress through all layers of a tooth’s structure until a cavity, or hole, finally appears.
Signs of decay
If you suspect that you have tooth decay, have it checked out by your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you identify decay, the less extensive the damage and treatment likely will be. If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have tooth decay:
- • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks
- • Persistent tooth pain
- • Dark spots on teeth or discolored teeth
- • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth
Cavity prevention is easy
The best defense against decay is excellent oral hygiene habits at home and routine visits to your dentist. By treating decay early, you can prevent more serious problems that require treatments such as fillings and even root canal therapy.
Simple ways to prevent tooth decay include the following:
- • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- • Floss daily to remove trapped food debris from between teeth and along the gum line.
- • Rinse your mouth with water after eating.
- • Visit your dentist twice a year for routine exams and professional cleanings.
- • Stimulate saliva production between brushing by chewing gum, as saliva helps fight cavities by rinsing harmful materials from the mouth.
- • Modify your diet to limit your consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
If you are suffering from the painful symptoms of tooth decay, call Schererville Family Dentistry today. We can provide the treatment you need to combat cavities, stop pain and save your tooth!