Dental caries is the technical name for cavities in your teeth, also known as tooth decay. Having tooth decay is not something to be ashamed of. In fact, 90% of Australians have tooth decay. The simple truth is that you only have one set of permanent teeth to last a lifetime and they put up with a lot.
How Dental Caries Form
Cavities or dental caries take a while to form. In many cases, they can be prevented if you visit the dentist regularly and have your teeth checked and cleaned. If you need a new dentist check out the list of ‘dentist near me’, you are certain to find a reputable one ready to help you.
Teeth are covered by the strongest substance in your body, enamel. However, despite being very tough, it can be eroded, especially when exposed to acid.
Whenever you eat food with sugars and starch in it, you are starting a chemical process in your mouth. These compounds react with the bacteria in your mouth to create acid. The acid attacks the enamel coating on your teeth.
Over time, the enamel is weakened. You will then enter the first stages of tooth decay. The good news is that it takes time to go through all five stages of decay and at most steps of the process your dentist can repair the damage. This allows you to keep your teeth into old age.
The cavity forms when the bacteria gets through the enamel, courtesy of the acid opening a pathway. At this stage, there will be a fine crack in your tooth. The longer this is left the more likely the bacteria will get into the inner part of your tooth and give you a cavity.
Dealing With Cavities
The first sign that you have a tooth issue is generally white spots on your teeth. This tells you the enamel is losing minerals and you need a fluoride treatment. After this, your tooth will start to darken, indicating the enamel has gone and bacteria are attacking your dentin, the part inside your tooth.
At this stage, you need a dentist to clean the affected area and then fill it. There are a variety of options when having a tooth filled. In most cases, the dentist will opt for ceramic as this can be colored to ensure it looks the same as your existing teeth.
However, it is possible to have a cheaper black filling or to opt for a more expensive, flashy gold one.
Providing the area is cleaned properly before being filled, the filling can last for a long time. Of course, you still need to look after your teeth properly.
Cavities can affect anyone from the moment you have your permanent teeth. Unfortunately, some people are more prone to cavities than others.
The best way to prevent cavities from forming is to see your dentist regularly. They will advise you whether you should see them once or twice a year. Alongside this, you should undertake a daily tooth care procedure. You can also talk to them about supplemental fluoride and whether it could be beneficial to your teeth.
This means brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You should do this for a minimum of two minutes each time and use a circular motion to help get all the debris in your mouth. It is essential that you don’t push too hard as this is likely to damage your gums. To prevent excess pressure use your finger and thumb only to hold your toothbrush.
You should also floss at least once a day. This removes debris and plaque from between your teeth. Alongside this, it’s a good idea to use a mouthwash and rinse your mouth.
It is also a good idea to avoid snacking between meals as this increases the amount of sugar that enters your mouth and the potential for tooth decay.
Don’t forget, that a regular visit to the dentist will help any issue be identified early and your dentist can treat the problem. Removing the tooth is generally a last resort as dentists prefer to repair the damage and help you keep your existing teeth into old age!