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Valley Dental Associates
9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

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Tips to Prevent Cavities

Adults need to take care of their teeth every day just as much as children do. It’s easy to skip brushing or flossing when you’re running late, but it can have serious consequences if you become lax. Good at-home dental care not only keeps your teeth and gums healthy, it can help protect your general health as well.

When you don’t clean plaque off your teeth regularly, the acids in plaque can eat a hole in your tooth. Cavities start out small, which is why it’s essential to see your dentist for a checkup every six months. You may not see the cavity just by looking at your teeth. Small cavities usually don’t cause pain either.

Dentists can treat small cavities easily by removing the decay and filling them. If you wait until the cavity causes you pain, it has likely gotten larger. You may feel sensitivity when you consume hot or cold beverages or feel pain when you bite down. If a dentist has to fill a large cavity, he or she may have to place a crown on the tooth to restore its strength and appearance.

Tips to Help You Prevent Cavities

Preventing cavities is largely in your hands. Genetics plays a role in making people more cavity prove, as do certain medical conditions. Nevertheless, your dentist can help you compensate through increased awareness and better hygiene regimens.

1. Take Good Care of Your Teeth at Home

Brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes twice a day and floss once. Make sure you reach the front, back and chewing surface of each tooth. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a fluoride toothpaste. If you have manual dexterity issues with brushing or flossing, ask your dentist for suggestions for products that will make it easier for you.

2. See Your Dentist Twice a Year

When you have regular checkups, your dentist can spot small cavities before they become a major problem. You can also get a professional teeth cleaning at the same time. The dental hygienist can spot any areas in your mouth that you may be missing when you brush or floss. He or she can make suggestions for ADA-approved products that can make your oral care routine faster and more efficient.

3. Consider Dental Sealants

Sealants are thin coatings placed on the chewing surface of molars to create a barrier between the tooth and bacteria. They also make the top of the tooth easier to keep clean as it will be smooth, with no pits to trap bacteria.

4. Get a Fluoride Application from Your Dentist

Fluoride varnishes and foam applications are beneficial for adults who frequently get cavities. Ask your dentist if a fluoride application is right for you. It’s typically a varnish that your dentist paints on with a brush. Normally, you will wait a half an hour before you can eat or drink to allow your teeth to absorb the fluoride.

5. Eat Foods That Are Good for Teeth

Certain crispy fruit or vegetable snacks can help clean your teeth when brushing isn’t feasible. Have an apple or celery or carrot sticks to clean plaque off your teeth naturally. Adding raw broccoli to your salad will have the same effect.

Certain foods high in vitamin C will help maintain the dentin, the middle layer of your tooth. Have strawberries or kiwi fruit for dessert instead of sugary cake or pie for dessert.

Eat hard cheese. It is a good source of calcium, which is good for your teeth. Hard cheese also contains casein, a milk protein, that helps keep tooth enamel from losing minerals and weakening.

6. Drink Water

Water helps wash away harmful bacteria in your mouth that can cause cavities. Most municipal water is also fluoridated, providing an additional benefit to your teeth. If you don’t like the taste of your municipal water, try mixing it with bottled water.

How Dentists Treat Cavities

Dentists treat cavities with:

Fillings

When you have a cavity, your dentist can numb your tooth and remove any decay. Next, he or she will fill it with either a metal filling or a tooth-colored material made of composite resin. Ceramic and gold fillings are also available, although they are less common. Fillings stop decay from spreading and restore your tooth.

Root Canals

If your decay reaches the innermost layer of your tooth, the pulp, your dentist will have to extract the pulp. While root canals have a bad name, they are painless procedures that stop the intense pain that occurs when they decay in a cavity reaches the pulp.

Crowns

After you have a root canal, your tooth will be weak. Even though your dentist will clean and fill the tooth, it will need a crown to restore its strength. A crown completely covers a tooth and restores its functionality and appearance. Your dentist may also suggest a crown, which looks just like a natural tooth, if you need a large filling and not a root canal.

Despite these proven safe and effective ways of treating cavities, researchers are always on the lookout for new methods. One such innovation is Silver Diamine Fluoride. It can stop a cavity by preventing further decay. While FDA approved, it is mainly used for children who have a cavity in a baby tooth or people with special needs who cannot tolerate drilling. It’s non-invasive and painless, but it will turn the area black.

An article in Scientific Reports shows scientists are almost ready to start human trials for using stem cells in a person’s dental pulp to regenerate their teeth. Much research is being done into other methods for preventing or treating cavities as well, since they are so common.

Regardless of new cavity treatments on the horizon, it’s always easier to do whatever you can to prevent them from forming in the first place. If you brush twice a day and floss once, it will only take five minutes out of your day. Cutting down on sweets and soda with sugar will also help prevent cavities and you’ll feel better too. Also, having a regular dentist near you who is affordable will make it easier to get regular checkups and ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.

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9199 Reisterstown Road, Suite 206B, Owings Mills, MD 21117

(443) 898-1240

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