Everything You Need To Know About Cavities

Your oral health is important, but it's also easy to overlook. However, even if you take great care of your teeth, you can develop a cavity. If you would like to know more about cavities, keep reading.

What Causes Cavities?

Your teeth have a layer of hard enamel. Under the enamel lies the dentin, which gives the tooth most of its color and houses the tooth's pulp. Bacteria naturally forms in your mouth and dines on the plaque and tartar left behind by food and drink. Unfortunately, this bacteria releases an acid that breaks down the tooth enamel and dentin, leading to dying tooth tissue or a cavity.

What Are the Symptoms of Cavities?             

Some cavities cause little to no symptoms, and some cavities are clearly visible as yellow, brown, or black patches. Common symptoms include pain when you bite and sharp pain when the tooth is exposed to heat, cold, or sweet. However, many cavities cause discomfort or pain with no obvious cause.

If the cavity starts to smell foul or develop pus, an infection has likely set in. If you do develop an infection, you may have severe pain, bad breath, and a metallic/bitter taste in the mouth. Your dentist can often spot the cavity with an exam but depending on its location, X-rays may be needed.

How Do You Treat a Cavity?            

Once the tooth tissue dies, it can't regrow. You can't even regrow the layer of enamel if it gets destroyed. Treatment consists of removing the infected and dying tissue and replacing it with a filling. Your dentist can use tooth-colored fillings to make them blend in. If the filling is particularly large, or the tooth had to be rebuilt, the dentist may recommend a crown.

If an infection developed, your dentist will recommend root canal therapy to remove the infection and living tissue. This process should save the tooth and prevent infection from returning. You'll also need a crown.

How Do You Prevent Cavities?

Luckily, there are many ways to prevent cavities. Of course, regular brushing and flossing are incredibly important, but you also need to visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings to get rid of tartar. If your enamel is weak, ask your dentist about fluoride. While it can't regrow lost enamel, it can strengthen existing enamel.

You should also avoid foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and acids. Bacteria love sugar and carbohydrates, so this diet will increase the risk of decay. Acidic foods and beverages can thin the enamel, making it easier for the bacteria. Sealants are another option. They are commonly used on kids to protect the molars from decay.

No one wants cavities, but they are incredibly common. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent cavities, and treatment is simple. If you would like to know more, contact a dentistry clinic, such as Dentologie, today.