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Posted on: September 24, 2021
Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone
Although there are times when all of us are tempted to forego our nightly routine of brushing our teeth and flossing, don’t do it. Your teeth won’t fall out because you miss one night of your oral hygiene procedure, but it’s too easy to skip another night, and then another night, and before you know it, you have severe dental problems. No matter how tired you are at night or how little time you have in the morning, skip five minutes of sleep or your morning bagel but don’t skip on your oral hygiene regimen.
When you keep cavities from forming, you’re contributing to your good oral health but also to your good overall health. Research has proven a correlation between poor dental health and the onset of serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and dementia, so be sure to brush adequately before you go to bed. For the best results, floss and use an antibacterial mouthwash at the same time.
If you notice a small hole in your tooth, then it’s most likely a cavity, and you should seek prompt treatment from your Orlando dentist. When a cavity is treated early, a small filling should fix it and restore functionality to your tooth. If you wait, however, your small cavity can worsen and require a large filling. Since large fillings have a high failure rate, your dentist may opt for a root canal and crown, which is much more invasive. The following tips can help keep your gums, teeth, and mouth in good condition and as healthy as possible:
- Brush at least twice daily and floss either before or after you brush. The order doesn’t matter as long as you do both. For best results, brush at least two minutes each time. You should brush after each meal or snack, but that’s not always possible. If it isn’t, then rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain water.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash that contains fluoride at least once daily after you brush. Ideally, this should be just before bedtime since the mouthwash can remove residual bacteria so they don’t remain on your teeth overnight. Don’t eat or drink anything but plain water after you brush and floss at night.
- Visit your dentist at least once annually, but twice is better, especially if you’re prone to specific dental issues. Also, even if you have good oral hygiene habits, your dentist will be able to catch minor issues before they escalate, so see your Orlando dentist often.
- While you’re at your dentist’s office, ask about sealants that protect your teeth. Not only do they keep the acids from getting to your tooth enamel, but they also cover the nooks and crannies between your teeth so that food particles can’t become lodged and start the decay process. With proper care, sealants can last for up to ten years, making them a good investment for your health.
- Drink at least some tap water. Most municipalities now add fluoride to their drinking water, and your teeth need fluoride to stay healthy. Since most people now drink bottled water regularly, they may not get enough fluoride to keep their teeth healthy.
- Eat a healthy diet. The foods that are good for your waistline and your body are also good for your teeth, such as dairy cheese, fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar-free gum, unsweetened coffee and tea, and nuts. For the healthiest teeth, avoid fast food, highly processed foods that are high in empty calories and carbohydrates, and foods that are high in sugar.
- Ask your dentist for their advice. Your dentist has decades of training and expertise, and they’re a wealth of information about good dental health practices. When you properly care for your teeth, they can last a lifetime, and you won’t need to replace them with expensive and uncomfortable artificial teeth.
What Cavity Treatments Are Available?
Prevention is the best treatment for cavities, but if you develop a cavity despite your best efforts, treatments are available. When you notice a small hole in your tooth enamel, it’s probably a cavity, so make an appointment with your dentist right away. You may not notice the dark spot on your tooth, rather it may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or cause you pain. When treated early, you’ll have the best prognosis, and a small filling should restore functionality to your tooth. If you wait, though, your small cavity can become a large cavity, and you’ll need more invasive treatment.
What’s the Difference Between a Filling and a Root Canal?
A filling covers a small cavity in your tooth so that the tooth doesn’t continue to decay. If the cavity isn’t treated, it will become larger, and you’ll either need a large filling or a root canal. Since large fillings have a higher failure rate, many dentists will opt for a root canal and crown to save the tooth.
If you need a root canal and a crown, also called a dental cap, then your dentist will remove the decayed part of the tooth as well as the pulp and nerve. The area will be disinfected, and the roots will be sealed. Then the canal will be filled with gutta-percha, and your dental crown will be permanently affixed to the hull of the tooth. This saves the tooth, so you don’t need an implant or a bridge. The best solution, however, is to prevent your tooth decay from reaching the point where you need a root canal and crown.
What Are the Newest Innovations in Dental Treatments?
One of the newest treatment options uses a fluorescent light that locates decay before it destroys or adversely impacts the tooth. When decay is found, a special sealant is applied so that a cavity doesn’t form and the decay doesn’t spread.
Another innovation is a type of filling that releases fluoride to surrounding teeth to inhibit the spread of decay and protect adjacent teeth.
Even though the field of dentistry is continually upgrading the list of available services and treatments, the best course of treatment is cavity prevention. Brushing a minimum of twice each day for at least two minutes each time and flossing either before or afterward will significantly improve your dental health. Using mouthwash to remove residual bacteria, especially just before bedtime, is also a great idea. Eat a healthy diet and have regular dental checkups, and your teeth can last for your lifetime.