The majority of American adults have had a cavity at some point in their life. If you’re conscious of getting a cavity, you might want to know how to detect them.
What Are Cavities?
First, let’s understand what cavities are. Cavities happen when tooth enamel is destroyed and tooth decay develops. The most common cavities are called coronal cavities and occur in between your teeth or on the chewing surfaces. Root cavities are less common and mainly occur in older adults with receding gums and gum disease because their tooth’s root is exposed. If left untreated, cavities can develop into an abscess, which is an infection at the root tip that will need to be treated by tooth extraction, root canal therapy, or surgery.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities develop when food particles are left in your mouth. If foods with sugars and carbohydrates aren’t washed away after you’ve eaten, the bacteria in your mouth turns them into acids. That acid combines with food debris, saliva, and bacteria in your mouth to form plaque, which destroys tooth enamel. Though children are more susceptible to developing cavities, adults need to be just as careful at keeping up with their oral hygiene and watching their sugar and carb intake.
Can I Check for a Cavity at Home?
In the early stages of a cavity, you won’t be able to detect it at home. This is because your tooth’s enamel doesn’t have nerves so when decay is entering that layer, you won’t feel anything. If the cavity and decay has progressed to reach the soft tissue inside your tooth, where dentin and nerves are, you may notice tooth sensitivity and pain, which could be anything from a mild to a more intense sensation. If a cavity has really progressed, you may be able to see holes or pits in your teeth and stains that are black or brown. If you do, schedule an appointment with us ASAP!
How Do I Prevent Cavities?
The best way to prevent cavities is by practicing good oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time, floss at least once a day, and use toothpaste with fluoride. Eating healthy foods and staying away from sugary and carbohydrate-heavy foods is also vital to cavity prevention.
Come See Us Every 6 Months!
Another way to detect and prevent cavities is to visit us for biannual cleanings and checkups. Dr. Ghimire will evaluate any unusual tooth pain and confirm the presence or absence of tooth decay. She’ll prod your teeth to check for soft spots and take X-rays to look between your teeth, where cavities often occur. Call us today to schedule your next appointment!