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What Causes Cavities?

What Causes Cavities?

10 Important Facts about Cavities and Tooth Decay!

While tooth decay, cavities and other forms of dental problems are common these days, most people are till date unaware about the basics that go in keeping teeth healthy and free from germs. Here are 10 important facts associated with cavities and tooth decay that you should very well be aware of:

1. Cavities are the most common forms of tooth decay: While tooth decay is a broad term, cavity is just one of the most common forms of it. While there are several forms of tooth decay including yellowing and rotting, most of the times they are left untreated unless it develops into the painful cavities.

2. Cavities are beyond any specific age: If you thought you wouldn’t have to worry about cavities in your toddler, till they get their permanent tooth, you are mistaken. Cavities can occur in toddlers just as much as they can in adults. It is important to keep up a routine dental visit even for toddlers so as to keep a tab on the progress of their teeth development and get immediate attention before it reaches to a cavity.

3. Sugar is one of the major causes of cavities: Sugar is often known to be one of the worst enemies for the teeth. It contains enzymes that can trigger a bacterial production inside the mouth that causes the teeth to rot from within. It is hence important to restrict the consumption of sugar particularly in small children who do not always brush their teeth after eating something.

4. Preventing Cavities is more Important than Treating them: The problem with cavities is that it is an irreparable damage. Although the dentist could help you get relief by performing a root canal, but that is not a permanent solution as the affected root becomes susceptible to decay even in the future unless taken care of well.

5.  The symptoms of cavities could be deceptive: While preventing a cavity is a bigger job than treating one, very often people don't realize they are suffering from cavities unless a greater damage has been done. It is always important to visit a dentist once every six months to do a periodic cleaning and keep cavities at bay.

What are Cavities?

Cavities are a common dental problem, but this early form of tooth decay may be prevented easily if you brush your teeth and floss properly every day. Many people wonder what causes cavities; they want to know how to avoid this common problem that leads to discomfort, pain and tooth loss. Cavities result from tooth decay, a process involving multiple stages. It begins when bacteria inflict damage on the hard surface of the teeth, and the destruction will spread into the deeper layers if left unchecked. If you are cavity-prone, take heart because the issue is largely preventable. Regular care of your teeth and a healthy diet can be enormously helpful in warding off this decay of your pearly whites. And that’s not all. Certain factors can increase your risk for developing tooth decay. Not brushing and flossing your teeth to remove plaque is a top risk factor, but keep these others in mind:

Specific foods and drinks

Foods that cling to your teeth are the most likely to promote tooth decay. All sugars and most cooked starchy foods are major plaque promoters, including milk, honey, raisins, hard candy, dry cereal and bread.

Frequent snacking

Some diets suggest eating several small meals each day to help lose weight or maintain weight loss. But remember that if you snack frequently, no matter what type of food, the acid in the food has more time to damage your teeth. Here’s another tip: Brushing your teeth after eating not only removes plaque, it can also help you stick to your diet by making your mouth feel cleaner so you’ll be less likely to snack.

Bottled water instead of tap

Many people are concerned about the quality of their local tap water, but public water supplies contain fluoride, which promotes oral health by helping to protect tooth enamel from plaque buildup. Check the labels on your bottled water—some have added fluoride. And if you have children, check with your dentist about the correct amount of fluoride that they should get to help control plaque and promote oral health.

Receding gums

If your gums are receding, plaque can form near the roots of the teeth, which are not protected by tooth enamel and are more vulnerable to decay.

Cavity protection methods

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Being diligent and consistent in oral care can go a long way toward helping you avoid cavities. This includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush designed for deep cleaning, such as the Colgate® SlimSoft™ toothbrush. If you can't brush after a meal, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

Aside from oral care, several dietary practices can guard against cavities. Eating tooth-healthy foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese and other dairy products, will help. Don't drink sweetened beverages because the sugar they contain will fuel the cavity-forming process. Avoid frequent snacking and drinks other than water throughout the day to prevent putting your teeth under even more assault from the acids created by the bacteria in your mouth.

Since no symptoms are associated with the early stages of cavity formation, you should see a dentist once or twice a year for a cleaning and examination. It is important to find trouble spots and stop them in their tracks before they develop into a major problem.

Complications Arising Out of Cavities

A cavity in the tooth can cause a number of complications, when left untreated. The complications include a number of factors such as:

  • Severe pain in the tooth that could be persistent;
  • an abscess of the tooth which could result in an infection and also create several complications which could even get into the blood stream and even cause a severe blood infection like a sepsis;
  • Accumulation of pus around the tooth that is infected by the cavity;
  • A risk of breakage or chipping of the tooth that is infected by the cavity;
  • Severe problem in chewing food

Putting off a dentist visit is certainly the biggest risk you could be taking with cavities. Your dentist would be in the best position to assess the best possible way to treat your cavity and this should not be delayed under any circumstances.

Natural Remedies to Treat Cavities

While visiting a dentist may be painful to treat cavities, in most cases it seems like the only solution to treat the tooth decay and getting rid of the pain. When a cavity is not treated appropriately it could lead to several other problems that could even include the cavity affecting other teeth. There are some of the tried and tested natural ways to get relief from cavities that also help in preventing the infection from worsening. Some of these natural methods include:

  • Oil of oregano: Oregano is known to be naturally enriched with certain essential compounds that help in preventing tooth decay and also help get relief from the severe symptoms of cavities. It is recommended to brush your teeth everyday with oil of oregano which helps in preventing tooth decay.
  • Xylitol: An toothpaste containing xylitol could prove to be extremely helpful in treating cavities and its symptoms. Xylitol prevents the tooth bacteria from secreting the harmful acids which are normally responsible for tooth decay. Once you use xylitol, the bacteria is unable to sustain in the mouth which eventually prevents the cavities and tooth decay from spreading on to the other teeth.
  • Cloves: A known remedy for better dental health, cloves go a long way in maintaining the health of your teeth. One or two drops of clove oil in the cavity area can help in reducing the effect of the cavity, bring about relief from symptoms like pain and also prevent the infection from spreading.
  • Sage: Sage is a wonder herb that is known for its antibacterial properties. Besides it also has natural properties which prevent the tooth decay. Sage is an excellent mouth wash and should be ideally used after every meal. It also prevents bad breath. Boil sage leaves in a pot of water and allow to cool. This can be used as an effective mouth wash.
  • Neem: Ancient ayurveda always spoke of neem as an effective way to keep dental problems away. Brushing with neem sticks and chewing upon neem leaves is one of the most effective ways of maintaining dental health. Besides the neem seeds are known to help in eradicating the cavity causing bacteria and in turn prevent tooth decay.
  • Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is a traditional remedy that helps in preventing the occurrence of cavities as well as tooth decay. Oil pulling helps in cleaning the mouth keeping the cavity causing bacteria at bay. An oil like sesame oil is found found to be extremely effective in getting rid of the cavity causing bacteria.
  • Salt: Salt has been found to be highly effective when it comes to caring for the teeth. Salt is highly beneficial in treating cavities due to its antibacterial properties which help in reducing the swelling in the mouth that can occur due to cavities. It is also very helpful in easing out the pain and prevent the growth of cavity causing bacteria.