Cavities are one of the world’s most common health problems – especially in children, teenagers, and older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 52 percent of children have a cavity in their primary teeth and 57 percent of teenagers have a cavity in their permanent teeth. Additionally, a whopping 90 percent of adults over the age of 20 have had a least one cavity.
A cavity can lead to serious complications if left untreated. Therefore, it’s essential to practice good oral and dental hygiene habits, identify potential signs, and receive proper timely treatment.
What is a Cavity?
A cavity, also known as tooth decay, occurs when the buildup of food and bacteria go untreated and turn into plaque. The bacteria created by plaque produces an acid that attacks and breaks down the enamel on the surface of teeth. When this process takes place within your mouth, it forms holes in the teeth and can cause severe complications if left untreated.
There are three types of cavities – coronal, root, and recurrent decay. A coronal cavity is the most common form of cavity and is located on the chewing surface or between teeth. A root cavity is most common in older adults. It occurs when gums recede and leave the tooth root exposed to toxic plaque. Lastly, recurrent decay happens around existing fillings or crowns where plaque can build up.
8 Possible Signs You May Have a Cavity
Cavities are often hard to spot as they can develop in the pits on the chewing surface of the back teeth. However, below are eight possible signs that you may have a cavity.
- Swelling or pus around your tooth
- Damaged or broken tooth
- Chewing problems – pain when biting
- Hot & cold sensitivity
- Discoloration on your tooth
- Bad breath
- Hole or pit in your tooth
While these possible signs could be indications that you have a cavity, they also relate to other oral health problems. The best way to spot and treat a cavity is to visit your dentist for regular check-ups – every six months. Your dentist will be able to conduct a thorough exam and provide the best treatment based on their findings.
How Do You Prevent Cavities?
Good oral and dental hygiene habits are the best way to prevent cavities.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and on the gum line
- Eliminate starchy and sugary foods from your diet
- Drink water throughout the day to remove food debris and produce saliva
- Rinse with a fluoride mouthwash
- Visit your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and exam
- Ask your dentist about sealants – a protective coating applied to the chewing surface of the back teeth
Cavity Treatment at Roseman Dental
Nearly 25 percent of Americans have untreated dental cavities. Untreated cavities could cause severe pain and infection, as well as problems with eating and speaking. Proper, timely dental treatment is essential to your oral health and overall well-being.
Treatment depends on the severity of the decay and your unique situation. Your dentist may recommend any of the following treatments:
- Fluoride treatment
- Root canal
- Tooth extraction
If you notice any of the possible signs mentioned or haven’t visited the dentist in a while, make an appointment with Roseman Dental today. Roseman Dental offers affordable, high-quality dental care in Henderson, Nevada and South Jordan, Utah.