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Long Wharf Dental Group
1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

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Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone

We’ve all been there. It’s late, you’re tired, you have to get up early, and tomorrow will be a very long day, so you’re tempted to skip your nightly routine of brushing and flossing. Whatever you decide to skimp on during the day, make sure it’s not your nightly oral hygiene regimen. Your good oral health is directly related to your good physical health. Poor dental health has been linked to very serious diseases such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, hypertension, and even premature death. Learning the best methods for maintaining your good oral health can help you maintain your good physical health, so continue reading to learn more about maintaining your teeth and gums in optimal health.

When you eat or drink, the bacteria in your mouth – which are necessary to start preparing your food for digestion – combine with the food you eat, and acids start forming. When the acids and residual food particles aren’t removed through brushing and flossing, they can form plaque. Plaque is tough and can only be removed by a dentist. When it isn’t removed, bacteria can thrive underneath it and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

When the acid has sufficiently eroded your tooth enamel, a cavity will begin to form. If you notice a small hole in a tooth, then it’s probably a cavity. A small filling may restore the tooth’s functionality if you see a dentist when the hole first appears. If you wait, however, the hole – and the decay – can spread, and you’ll need more invasive techniques to restore your tooth. After a time, you may need a root canal and a cap. If you need a root canal, be sure to address it promptly since it’s very serious and can have drastic health ramifications.

How Can I Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums and Not Get Cavities?

The first step in the procedure of avoiding cavities is to never skip or skimp on your nightly oral hygiene. Even though you won’t immediately lose your teeth, leaving food particles and acids on your teeth can start the decay process and adversely affect your teeth and gums. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush and floss after every meal and snack. However, that may not always be feasible, so at least rinse your mouth well with plain water. The following tips will help deter the onset of cavities and gum disease:

  1. Regular brushing: Brush and floss at least twice daily using toothpaste with fluoride, and brush for at least two minutes each time. Flossing can remove hidden food particles that your toothbrush might have missed, so floss well each time you brush, especially before you go to bed each night. Don’t consume anything but plain water after you brush for the night.
  2. Use mouthwash daily: The ADA recommends that you use an antibacterial mouthwash in the morning and before you go to bed. Mouthwash can remove residual bacteria that your toothbrush missed, but be sure to use a mouthwash that carries the ADA seal of approval.
  3. Get regular dental checkups: One of the most important aspects of your dental hygiene should be regular, professional checkups. Semiannual checkups are best, but if that’s not feasible, then get annual checkups at a minimum. Your dentist may be able to provide you with helpful tips for better tooth maintenance, and they may spot minor issues before they escalate.
  4. Use topical dental treatments: Ask your dentist about topical protective coatings. They’re applied to the fronts and backs of the teeth as well as in all the nooks and crevices, so your teeth have an additional layer of protection against tooth decay. When properly maintained, topical treatments can last for a decade or longer, so they’re well worth the investment.
  5. Eat healthy, tooth-friendly foods: Some foods and beverages are good for your teeth, and they’re usually the same ones that are good for your body. Dairy can supply the calcium you need for strong teeth, and fresh fruits and vegetables help remove food particles and acids. They also supply antioxidants that are good for your entire body. Unsweetened tea and coffee, as well as sugar-free gum, are good for your teeth because they encourage saliva production that helps keep your mouth moist and free of bacteria. Ask your dentist for additional recommendations if you need them.
  6. Drink tap water: Most people now consume bottled water on a daily basis, but most brands of bottled water contain very few of the minerals that you need for healthy teeth. Consider drinking some tap water each day to help remineralize your teeth. Most areas now fluoridate their water supply, which will help you maintain healthy teeth.
  7. Get advice from your dentist: Your dentist has years or decades of experience and education in maintaining healthy teeth and gums, so ask them for advice. They’ll be happy to share information with you.

Maintaining good oral health isn’t difficult, but it requires dedication and perseverance. For the healthiest mouth, don’t skip on your dental routine.

How Do I Get Rid of Cavities?

If, in spite of all your efforts, you find a cavity, don’t despair. Seek dental treatment immediately for the best prognosis. The following treatments are the most common:

  • Filling: If you have a small cavity, your dentist can probably use a small filling to restore the tooth’s health. A variety of filling materials are available depending on the size and location of the tooth, but your dentist will recommend the best option for you.
  • Crown: If your cavity has expanded, you may need a dental crown, also called a dental cap. Your dentist will remove the decayed area of the tooth, cleanse and disinfect it, and then place the cap on the tooth. A cap is custom-made to the size, shade, and shape of your natural teeth, and it may require two office visits to place.
  • Root Canal: If your tooth is badly decayed, you may need to have a root canal and a cap. If you need a root canal, your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth as well as the pulp and the root, and then they’ll seal the root. The canal will be filled with gutta-percha, and then the cap will be placed. You may need two or three appointments to place the cap since it’s customized to the individual tooth.

Other treatments may be available since new dental care treatments are continually being developed, so ask your dentist about all available treatments.

If you get a cavity, don’t despair. Get it treated promptly and ask about methods for avoiding them in the future. Good oral hygiene, practiced every day without fail, is the best method for avoiding cavities. If you take good care of your teeth, they may last throughout your lifetime, and you may never need dentures or implants.

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Long Wharf Dental Group

1 Long Wharf Drive, Suite #221, New Haven, CT 06511

(203) 764-2386