You love your natural teeth and want to make sure they last as long as possible. Cavities and dental decay are one of the most common oral health conditions in the United States and affect 92 percent of adults age 20 to 64. Some people think of cavities as a small dental inconvenience that can easily be fixed, but while treatment is simple, they can wreak havoc on your oral health when they’re left to progress. Read on to learn ways that you can ward off this common oral health issue and keep all of your natural teeth, longer.
What are Cavities?
When plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth because they’re not regularly cleared away, it can erode your enamel and cause permanent damage. This issue is especially common in children, teenagers, and older adults, but can happen to anybody. It’s important to spot and treat them early on because they can cause a variety of more serious oral health problems when they’re not. Some signs you may notice that could signify that you have a cavity include:
- Spontaneous pain or a toothache.
- Tooth sensitivity.
- Discomfort when eating or drinking.
- Holes in the biting surface of your teeth.
- Brown, black, or white stains on your teeth.
- Pain when biting down on something.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist immediately to ensure that you’re not experiencing dental decay. If you are, they’ll be able to quickly treat the issue before it requires a more invasive procedure to be fixed down the road.
What Problems Can Cavities Cause When Left Untreated?
When you visit your dentist every six months for checkups and cleanings, they’ll examine your teeth for any sign of decay. If they find a cavity while it’s still a manageable size, they’ll be able to fill the area with a composite resin and seal it off to prevent further damage. This treatment can also protect the root of your affected tooth against harmful oral bacteria. Some issues that can arise when cavities are left untreated include:
- Chronic tooth pain.
- Increased risk of experiencing a dental emergency.
- Difficulty chewing.
- Swollen gums.
Even though you may feel like you’re avoiding a costly visit to the dentist by ignoring the signs of cavities, when they’re left untreated, you’ll most likely need a root canal or tooth extraction down the road. These are more invasive treatments that can take longer to recover from.
How Can You Prevent Cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is to keep up with your oral hygiene routine by brushing twice each day for two minutes, flossing daily, and rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash. It’s vital to visit your dentist every six months for professional checkups and cleanings so your dentist can fill any decay while it’s still small and hasn’t caused any discomfort or severe damage yet. These appointments can ensure that you get the most out of your natural teeth, and they remain healthy and beautiful for longer!