THINGS THAT CAN CAUSE CAVITIES
Tooth decays occur when bacteria in your mouth produce acid that erodes tooth enamel. If it is not treated, it can cause toothache, infection and even tooth loss.
What Causes Cavities?
Our mouth is full of bacteria, some of them are good and some of them are bad for us, including the ones that cause tooth decays. These bacteria attach to the food to create a soft and stick layer called plaque. Bacteria in plaque use the sugar and starch in the food and drink to produce acid. Due to these acids, tooth/enamel erosion starts to occur. After the hardest part of a tooth starts to soften against this acid, decays occur, in time it worsens and goes deep into the inner tissues of the teeth. Besides many reasons of tooth decays, we can say sugar based diets, consumption of acidic food (or foods that can turn into acid), and oral hygiene are the main reasons.
Symptoms of Tooth Decays
In the early stages of tooth decays, it is unusual to see symptoms. We start to see them when the severity of the decays increases. Some of the symptoms are:
- Sensitivity to sweets, hot and cold foods/drinks
- White or brown spots on teeth
- Holes due to cavities
- An infection that can cause abscess. Abscess may cause ache, swollen face and fever.
What Happens If Cavities Are Not Treated
Cavities can be seen in anyone because everyone has enough amount of bacteria in their mouth. Cavities form when bacteria enter your teeth and inhabit. This happens more easily if you consume foods and drinks that are high in sugar, since sugar causes enamel erosion. This way, bacteria start to erode your teeth as well and this may leave permanent damages. We all know cavities are bad call but do we know how serious they can be? Here are some of the complications you may experience if your cavities are not treated:
Substance loss in your tooth: If cavities are not fully treated, they cause the cavity gets worsened by penetrating the tooth in a deeper level. This can go as far as breaking the tooth from the inside. The bigger the decay is, the bigger the related problems are.
Infection: If the cavity is not treated, it can cause some infections. The most common treatment for this is antibiotics. Dental infections should not be ignored, since they can be very serious. They can cause swelling in your jaw and intolerable pain.
Irreversible damage on gums: When not treated, cavities can go deep through your tooth, which will give you intense pain. Treatments such as root canal operation or exodontia (tooth extraction) need to be done, which are more tiring and expensive than a simple dental filling that is applied to the cavity.
High Sensitivity: When you realize you cannot enjoy your coffee in the morning or a glass of lemonade during hot summer days, this is the way your body is telling you there is something wrong with your teeth and needs to be treated immediately. Because sensitivity to hot and cold drinks/foods is the first symptom of tooth decay.
It is always recommended to see your dentist as soon as possible, when you have a sore tooth thinking that it can be a sign of tooth decay. However; this may not always be the case. With the increase of acidic food consumption, people clenching their teeth, and hard tooth brushing, it is also possible to see erosion on the surface of the teeth, which can cause serious sensitivity. Therefore it is better to see your dentist to decide which the real cause is.
HOW TO PREVENT CAVITIES
Even though cavities are seen very often, it is easy to decrease the risk of having one. Here are some of the little things you can do:
- Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
- To prevent food particles to get between your teeth, you should follow an interdental hygiene routine by using floss, interdental tooth brush and/or mouth wash.
- Try to avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar and refined carbohydrate such as candy, fruit juice, sodas, pasta, bread, rice etc.
- Limit having snacks between meals.
- If the risk of tooth decay is high, your dentist can apply a fluoride treatment as an addition to the fluoride you get from the toothpaste.
- Fruits and vegetables high in fiber
- Black or green tea, without sugar
Also, do not forget to visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular dental care. It will help your dentist detect any problem and treat them before it gets worse.