Chances are your October calendar page is quickly filling up with lots of kid-friendly activities, and also, ample opportunities to indulge in some candy. There are lots of sweets to be enjoyed this time of year, from snack-sized chocolates, to extra large slices of pumpkin pie. It’s okay for most people to enjoy a treat now and then, but if you don’t want to spend the new year dealing with tooth decay, like pesky cavities, there are a few key tricks to keeping your smile healthy!
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities are caused by dental decay, which erodes the enamel of your teeth, exposing the more sensitive layer beneath it, called the dentin. This is why many people suffering from cavities begin to experience sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks. Grey or black lines may also be visible when a cavity is present.
At the first sign of trouble, you should call and schedule a visit with your dentist. If caught early, most cavities can be treated with a simple cleaning and filling. However, the longer the decay continues, the more likely your tooth is to become infected, thus requiring root canal treatment in order to save the damaged tooth.
One of the best ways to prevent cavities, in the first place, is by limiting your sugar intake. That’s because the plaque bacteria often responsible for forming cavities feeds on the sugars you eat. If your diet is high in sugar content, the bacteria are able to buildup and create an acidic environment.
While the occasional piece of candy should not cause a cavity, it is important to make sweets a treat, not a normal or large part of your diet. You should also be careful to maintain a regular dental hygiene routine, including daily brushing and flossing to help prevent plaque buildup. Regular checkups and cleanings are also key parts of preventive care. Most patients need to visit the dentist at least every six months to keep their smiles healthy, but if you have a history of cavities you may need to go more regularly. There could be dietary and/or hereditary causes increasing your risk of developing additional cavities. Being aware of this can help you and your dentist better protect your teeth!