Cavities and Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is also called cavity or caries, it is a small hole that is formed in the tooth. Cavities are one the most common dental problem and they usually start much smaller and gradually increase in size, if they are not treated on time.
Cavities are very common and even small babies are prone to them. Cavities do not cause any sort of pain in the beginning, so finding out having a carious tooth can be a surprise in the beginning. So, a regular dental checkup is recommended for early detection of dental caries. By following certain healthy routines, you can always prevent new cavities from developing. Signs and symptoms of tooth decay depend on the severity of tooth decay.
Symptoms of tooth decay
Following are a few common symptoms associated with tooth decay.
- Sensitivity associated with the tooth
- Pain in the tooth
- A visible hole/black color stain in the tooth
Common Causes associated with tooth decay
Tooth decay or cavity is caused by the building of plaque on the tooth. Plaque is a sticky and soft film, it builds upon our teeth. It contains millions of bacteria, which causes tooth decay and various gum diseases. It is important and vital to remove this plaque with regular brushing and flossing the teeth. A cavity develops more often in
Below-mentioned Risk Factors
- Poor oral hygiene
- Consumption of sugary and acidic food
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Lack of fluorides
Fluoride is a natural mineral, it restores the lost minerals to the surface of the tooth. It also inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and prevents dental caries and strengthens the enamel.
Optimal fluoride can be attained by food, water, and good supplements. Following is the list of the recommended daily amount of fluoride according to the age.
Birth to 3 years of age: 0.1 to 1.5 milligrams (mg)
4 to 6 years of age: 1 to 2.5 mg
7 to 10 years of age: 1.5 to 2.5 mg
Adolescents to adults: 1.5 to 4 mg
- Certain eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia
- Acid reflux diseases, they cause wearing of enamel
- Cavities are common in posterior teeth as compared to anterior teeth, because of the grooves where the food particles can be trapped.
Treatment options of tooth decay
depend on the severity of the cavity, tooth fillings are often recommended for small cavities. Crowns are the custom fit caps, they are recommended in case you have a deep cavity. RCT(Root canal treatment) is recommended when the pulp is exposed and infection is present causing severe pain and discomfort.
Prevention from tooth decay
You can always reduce the risk of having dental caries, by following good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste. Brushing both in the morning and in the night is recommended. Fluorides help in increasing the resistance from caries, it is natural mineral and both systemic and topical application is beneficial.
Flossing teeth properly
Flossing helps in removing plaque and food particles. It reaches the areas where toothbrush fails to clean, like between your teeth and under your gumline. Daily flossing helps in reducing your chances of having dental cavities. It is advised to use 18 inches of floss, you can choose either nylon floss or monofilament floss. Floss is available in many varieties like, waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored. Monofilament floss has an advantage over nylon floss, they are shred resistant and easily slides between teeth. But, they are more expensive.
Reduce consumption of sugary and acidic food.
Limit snacking between meals
While snacking in between meals helps in fighting hunger, it can cause oral health problems like sensitivity and tooth cavities. So, choose your snacks wisely. Avoid sugary and starchy snacks like – sodas, coffee, pasta, alcohol, bread, and processed meat. they tend to drop the pH of your mouth causing corrosion of enamel. Prolonged erosion of enamel causes increased sensitivity and tooth decay.
Eat fiber-rich food like fruits and vegetables
- Fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots, celery, grapes, cucumbers, kiwis, cauliflowers, papayas, broccoli, onions have
- natural scrubbing effect on teeth, they help in disrupting the plaque.
- Increase calcium in your diet
Professional fluoride treatment
Professional fluoride treatment can be availed in form of a concentrated gel, rinse, foam or varnish. Treatment is applied with a brush, swab or tray. You will be asked to avoid eating and drinking for about half an hour, this will help in complete absorption of fluoride.
Regular visit to dentist
A regular visit to your dentist twice annually is recommended. This will help in professional examination and cleaning of your teeth.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.