It’s safe to say that no one likes the news that they have a cavity. It means extra visits to the dentist for needles, drilling, and filling.
Or does it? Can you stop the progression of a cavity?
Chances are that not only can you stop the progress of tooth decay, but you may have done it already, maybe even dozens of times, if your dental hygiene home game is in order and you have a fluoridated water supply. Regular visits to RR Dentistry in Georgetown, Texas, can help you further, keeping an eye on the hidden trouble spots where decay sometimes takes hold.
We’ve also prepared this overview of how cavities occur and what you can do to interrupt their progress. You might be surprised to find out you’re already taking care of cavity prevention.
How cavities develop
Tooth decay, cavities, and caries all refer to the same thing, and they’re one of the most common health issues in the country. Despite the solid appearance of tooth enamel, it’s made of a mesh of mineral fibers. Acids and bacteria can penetrate into enamel, dissolving these minerals. As this attack on your enamel advances, you develop a cavity.
The cavity gets larger and deeper without treatment, and it can lead to toothaches, infection, and tooth loss. Our dentists can help with fillings, and we also have a few new technologies that change the paradigm of traditional dental services — check out our air abrasion services, an alternative to drilling.
Sometimes, you’ll see white spots on your teeth in places where mineral loss starts. This is an early sign of tooth decay, before a cavity fully develops. However, there are plenty of areas of enamel you can’t easily observe, and these are often the places where cavities start, places that brushing and flossing don’t treat well.
How to stop the progression of a cavity
You’ve got a few things working for you to prevent or stop cavities in their tracks.
Reducing acid exposure
Exposing tooth enamel to acidic foods and drinks is one way tooth decay may begin. Making dietary choices that limits these exposures just naturally limits their effects. Acids may arrive in the form of fruit juices, and bacteria in the mouth convert sugar and starches into acids, too.
While you can’t eliminate all the sources of acid, you can minimize things like candy, sodas, or highly processed carbohydrates. These all break down quickly, attacking teeth.
Keeping your saliva healthy
You already have a helper in acid prevention. Your saliva dilutes the foods and bacteria that otherwise convert to acids. In addition, saliva carries calcium, fluoride, phosphorus, and other minerals that help to support and repair tooth enamel. Always have a water bottle handy, drink fluids throughout the day, and keep your mouth clean to ensure healthy saliva.
Taking advantage of fluoride sources
There’s a reason why municipal water supplies add fluoride. You guessed it: cavity prevention. Adding fluoride strengthens teeth, particularly when you’re young. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste also helps, not only providing the mineral, but diluting and deactivating the debris and acids formed by food. You can also find fluoride rinses at your drugstore.
If your child is particularly vulnerable to caries, we may apply silver diamine fluoride at their next office visit. It’s a painless but effective way to fight cavities.
Prioritize your oral health
Regular checkups and dental cleanings with us at RR Dentistry also serve as cavity protection. Keep yourself cavity-free. Schedule your next appointment by phone or through the booking link on this page today.