No one likes having tooth pain or sensitivity and finding out the source is a pesky cavity. Fortunately, there are ways that you and our Grand Rapids dentists can help altogether. While we expect to see you in for your regularly scheduled cleaning, you can also fight tooth decay outside of our dental office.
Here’s what you need to know about cavities and 6 tips for avoiding them.
What Is a Cavity?
Ais a hole in the tooth that has been caused by tooth decay. Any individual, no matter their age, can develop cavities if proper oral hygiene habits are not practiced. For many patients, cavities occur due to a combination of foods consumed and inadequate brushing.
Despite being preventable, cavities are very common. They’re also easily treated so you can enjoy a healthy, restored smile. When one is found, our dentists will remove the decay and treat the affected area with a tooth-colored filling.
With this type of filling, no one will be able to tell you’ve had a cavity filled as the material used matches your natural tooth enamel. You can smile confidently knowing there is no risk of any metal showing at all.
Symptoms of a Cavity
Depending on where your cavity is and its size, your symptoms could vary. Sometimes cavities are small enough that they don’t produce any symptoms. These typically have to be caught through observation either by you or one of our dentists.
Common signs you may have a cavity include:
- Pain when biting down
- Toothache or out-of-the-blue tooth pain
- Sensitive teeth that react to hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and beverages
- Pits or holes in your teeth that are clearly visible
- Staining on any surface of tooth that is brown, black, or white
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, please call our Grand Rapids office. Our dentists can take a look and alleviate your discomfort with the proper treatment.
Steps You Can Take to Keep Tooth Decay Away
Our dentists want your smile to be as healthy as possible so on top of regular dental check-ups, it’s encouraged that you also care for your teeth and gums at home. We’ve lined up a few things to consider below.
1. Commit to Your Daily Oral Health Routine
If you have been a little lax with yourlately, now is the time to really commit to the process of keeping your mouth clean every day. The general rule of thumb is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss once daily. Be sure to brush every tooth surface and clear any debris or food particle from in between your teeth.
2. Treat Your Teeth to Fluoride
Make sure that at least the toothpaste you use contains fluoride. Fluoride is your teeth’s best friend as it works to rebuild weakened enamel, slow down the loss of minerals from enamel, and reverse early tooth decay. Aside from its presence inside dental care products, many communities add fluoride into the public water supply for residents.
3. See Our Dentists Every Six Months
Unless you have a dental issue that requires more frequent attention, our dentists would like to see you in our Grand Rapids office every six months for an oral exam and teeth cleaning. Even if all is well, these visits allow for our dentists to monitor your oral health and take note of any developing areas of concern.
4. Choose Healthy Foods and Drinks
A balanced diet not only does a body good, but it helps your mouth as well. Deciding to enjoy a glass of water instead of soda or juice, for example, washes away leftover bits of food and doesn’t leave sugar behind on teeth. Eating healthier foods will not only limit the amount of plaque that develops on your teeth, but they’ll give you more energy as well.
5. Use a Mouthwash
Swishing with a fluoride or antibacterial mouthwash after brushing and flossing your teeth can reduce your risk for cavities. In general, mouthwash works to stop plaque from building up, strengthen enamel, and kill bacteria capable of causing gum infection or disease. It can also help reach areas otherwise not accessed by a toothbrush.
6. Consider Dental Sealants
Though dental sealants may be a more popular preventive treatment for children, they can also benefit adults. Once applied, sealants are designed to prevent decay from entering the fine grooves and pits located on molars.
These narrow, hard-to-clean “fissures” are commonly found on back teeth which makes them especially susceptible to cavities. Even the bristles of a toothbrush may not be able to reach inside these areas to properly get rid of any plaque or food particles. If you’re at higher risk for cavities, ask our dentists today about sealants for your smile.
Have Your Teeth Cleaned Professionally
Cavities do not have to happen to you. Proper oral hygiene at home and a teeth cleaning every six months by our dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, can help you steer clear of tooth decay. Schedule your appointment by calling Contemporary Family Dental today at (616) 209-3969 or feel free to contact us online.