Cavities

Q:

I am 35 years old. Recently, I felt pain in my lower right corner of the teeth, so I went to
the dentist for a diagnosis. My dentist said that I had a cavity which required a filling. What should be done to prevent toothache or tooth decay and how often should we go for a dental check-up?

A:

It is frustrating to take care of your teeth and always get cavities. It’s not just your oral hygiene that can affect the health of your teeth. Other factors which cause cavities include:

1. Genetics. Some people are more genetically predisposed to caries or have thin enamel.

2. Or you might have a very acidic saliva; dry mouth when you don’t have enough saliva in your mouth. If you su er from dry mouth, your dentist may be able to help by prescribing you medication to help increase your salivary flow.

3. Oral hygiene. Perhaps you are not brushing or flossing properly and adequately. Cavities are more likely between teeth, bacteria can hide anywhere that you are not able to reach with a toothbrush or floss. You can use a fluoride mouthwash to get to tough spots.

4. Diet, fermentable carbohydrates and acid foods are the main contributors. This is why people that drink a lot of soda can be prone to decay. If you eat sugar a lot, you give the bacteria exactly what it wants to eat. The more often you feed them, the more cavity-causing acid they will produce. Eating or drinking acidic foods can break down your teeth’s outer shell, known as the enamel, weaken the tooth, and make teeth more prone to decay. To reduce the risk of cavities while still can enjoy your food is to have a habit to rinse your mouth after every intake of carbohydrates and acid foods.

5. Not getting enough fluoride. Fluoride makes the enamel of your teeth stronger. You can get it by using a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.

6. Health issues (diabetes, autoimmune deficiencies) or chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Having chemotherapy or radiation treatment in the head and neck area can reduce salivary flow and cause other oral problems which increase the risk of getting a cavity. A regular visit to the dentist is necessary to make sure all cavities are detected before it is too late.

7. Clenching and grinding may lead to cavities. This can put a huge amount of pressure on your teeth. The strain can eventually cause cracks and fractures of your teeth, which speeds up tooth decay.

Dental check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your dentist can tell you when and how often you should visit based on your personal oral health.

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