Many people associate cavities with candy and children. But even adults who brush regularly can get cavities. In fact, cavities are more serious than most people realize. If you ignore a cavity, it can lead to the destruction of your tooth enamel, as well as tooth loss and even disease. So how do you know if you have a cavity forming inside your mouth? And would you know what to do if you found one? If you don’t know the answers, don’t worry! We have you covered in this official guide for preventing and detecting cavities.
Cavities get progressively worse over time, so it’s never wise to ignore any symptoms. If you suspect that you have a cavity it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as you experience any signs. Catching one early will help to avoid any further dental problems from occurring in the future. Here’s what you should look out for:
Small Holes and Dark Spots
The easiest way to spot a cavity is to look at your teeth. Some cavities are visible to the naked eye as holes or pits, while other cavities cause dark spots to form on your teeth. But some can only be detected by an X-ray, so it’s important to visit your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms.
If you experience any shooting pain in an area of your mouth, it could be a sign that you have a cavity. If you notice any discomfort, even when you’re not touching your tooth, you should have it examined by a dentist to see if there’s tooth decay or an infection in the area.
Cavities can also cause temperature sensitivity. If you experience any pain when you eat hot or cold foods, it could be a sign of a cavity. This also applies when eating sugar – if you experience any pain when enjoying desserts or sugary drinks, a cavity could be forming.
Bleeding While Brushing
Are you experiencing any bleeding while brushing? This is often an indication that bacteria is present and a cavity is forming.
When a tooth forms a cavity, food particles can easily get stuck in the hole. This creates a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause a bad taste in your mouth as well as a foul odour.
Cavities are particularly common in children and young adults. In order to prevent cavities, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene, eat a well-balanced diet, and visit your dentist regularly. Combining the below steps can help reduce your risk of cavities and limit your chances of disease.
A Balanced Diet
What you eat plays an important role in your overall oral health. And although we’re aware that we need to stay away from sugary and acid foods to avoid cavities, not all of us know that there are foods that can also improve our oral health. You can reduce your risk of tooth decay by eating foods rich in Calcium, Phosphorous, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Vitamin A, and Probiotics.
Proper Dental Hygiene
It’s especially important to follow a proper dental routine in order to keep cavities at bay. This includes brushing twice a day for approximately two minutes, flossing, using mouthwash to clear away bacteria, and replacing your toothbrush when the bristles start to wear out. Adults should also be aware that too much brushing isn’t always a good thing. To avoid wearing away at the surface of the teeth, avoid brushing aggressively — plaque is soft and can be easily removed with gentle and thorough brushing.
Fluoride can also be used to help your teeth become more resistant to tooth decay. And if you already have cavities forming, the use of fluoride can help to reverse the current effects by encouraging remineralization.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Because some cavities are only detected with dental X-rays, it’s crucial to attend your regular dental check-up. Only your dentist has the tools and techniques to spot any early signs of cavities and to give you the proper treatment to stop decay in its tracks.
If you suspect that you have a cavity, it’s imperative that you visit your dentist right away. The only way to treat a cavity is to have it repaired by your dentist. Depending on your situation, they may recommend applying a filling to prevent the bacteria from infecting the tooth or inserting a crown to repair any damage. In some cases, a root canal may need to be performed to remove the infected pulp. Whatever the underlying problem is, your dentist will help find a solution that is best for you.
The bottom line — the sooner a cavity is detected, the easier it is for your dentist to treat it. Visiting your dentist at least twice a year will help to ensure that your teeth are in tip-top shape and you get the treatment you need if any problems arise. To learn more about cavities and to book your next appointment with us at Rockcliffe Dental, contact us today!