There Is No "One Key" To Great Dental Health

Your Guide To Cavities

Even if you take great care of your teeth, you may develop a cavity one day. Some medications and heath conditions can even increase the risk of oral complications like cavities. If you want to know more about cavities, keep reading.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are incredibly common. Also know as caries or tooth decay, cavities are damaged tooth tissue. Cavities are caused from the acids released by the bacteria naturally found in your mouth. This acid weakens the enamel, increasing the risk of tooth decay.

Saliva and brushing/flossing helps control bacteria, but some habits can increase the number of bacteria or acid, including:

  • Consuming acidic foods/beverages
  • Consuming sugary foods
  • Consuming a lot of simple carbohydrates
  • Smoking tobacco

In addition, anything that causes dry mouth (like medications or cannabis) can increase the risk of decay. Dry mouth causes a reduction of saliva, so your body can't naturally wash away plaque and food easily.

If you develop a cavity, you may be able to see it as a dark brown, black, or yellow spot. In many cases, the cavity hurts when exposed to heat, cold, or sugar.

How Are Cavities Treated?

Cavities aren't reversible, and you can't stop them from growing. You'll need to visit your dentist to have the dead tissue removed and replaced with a filling. If the cavity is small and surface level, you may not even need Novocain. Some dentists may use inlays or overlays after fillings. These are more expensive, but they look more like natural tooth tissue.

Are There Complications Associated with Cavities?

If left untreated, cavities can lead to many complications. First, damage weakens the tooth, increasing the risk of the tooth cracking, chipping, or snapping off at the gumline. If this happens, you may need a large filling or extraction. If you do get a large filling, your dentist may also recommend a dental crown to strengthen the weak tooth.

In some cases, bacteria enters the tooth's pulp, causing an infection. Tooth infections can be incredibly painful and can spread to other parts of the body if ignored. You'll need root canal treatment or extraction to treat the infection. If you choose root canal treatment, your dentist will, again, recommend a crown.

Cavities are incredibly common, but treatment is easy. However, if left untreated, the cavity can destroy more and more healthy tissue, increasing the risk of tooth loss and jawbone deterioration. Some teeth may even develop painful infections. If you would like to know more, or if you think you have a cavity, contact a dentist in your area today.

For more information, visit a dental clinic such as the Dental Clinic of Onalaska.