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Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone

Most cavities are caused by plaque, which is present in nearly everyone’s mouth almost all the time. When bacteria and food particles interact inside your mouth, they form a sticky and acidic material that is called plaque. Plaque sticks to the surfaces of your teeth and wears away at your tooth enamel to create holes, which are known as cavities. Finding the best ways to prevent cavities can allow you and your family members to avoid painful dental issues and to enjoy healthier and stronger teeth. Here are some important ways in which you and your family can fight cavities and improve your dental health for many years of brighter smiles.

The Basics of Tooth and Gum Care

Because so many cavities are caused by plaque, removing as much of this substance as possible from your teeth, gums and mouth is very important. Some of the most important ways to do this include the following:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is essential to get rid of plaque and food particles. Most dental authorities recommend spending at least two minutes during each session. When brushing, pay special attention to the backs of your teeth and the areas that you cannot easily see. These areas are often havens for plaque and bacteria growth.
  • Flossing once or twice daily will dislodge food particles and plaque from between teeth. When flossing, be careful not to injure your gums with rough treatment. These delicate tissues could become infected or inflamed, which could cause some serious issues for your dental health. Be sure to use a fresh part of the floss for every pass between your teeth. This will allow you to remove plaque rather than just move it from one place to another.
  • Rinse your mouth with mouthwash or water after each meal or snack. This is especially important if you will not have the chance to brush your teeth. Water is not a substitute for brushing. It can, however, be a compromise solution in cases where brushing your teeth is not practical or convenient.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. The fluoride in fluoridated water and in toothpastes and mouthwashes interacts with tooth enamel to make it harder and more resistant to plaque and cavities. The American Dental Association reports that fluoride can reduce the risk of cavities by nearly 40 percent in adult dental patients. By including fluoride as part of your dental regimen, you can reduce your risk of cavities and tooth decay to a considerable degree.
  • Schedule regular dental visits for yourself and your family. Your dentist is a valuable source of information on new treatments, dental hygiene practices and the current condition of your teeth and gums. By working with an affordable dentist in Florida, you and your family can access the guidance you need to manage your dental care more effectively now and in the future.

Extra Credit for Fighting Cavities

A few other strategies can provide even more protection for your teeth and your ongoing dental health.

  • Drinking plenty of water and adding calcium-rich foods to your daily diet are two proven methods for strengthening your teeth. Antioxidant-rich foods are helpful in reducing inflammation of the gums, which is one of the early warning signs of gum disease.
  • Your dentist can apply sealants that will prevent plaque and bacteria from collecting between teeth and on front and back surfaces. This can significantly reduce the chance of cavities for you and your family. Best of all, these treatments can last for up to 10 years with normal care. A relatively small investment in dental sealant treatment can add up to years of healthier teeth.
  • For added help in taking on stubborn plaque, prescription mouthwashes are available to destroy the bacteria responsible for this sticky substance. Your dentist can tell you whether these extra-strength mouthwashes are the right solution for you.

Treatments for Tooth Decay and Cavities

You or your family members may sometimes get cavities or patches of tooth decay even if you practice good dental hygiene habits. Some of the symptoms of these issues include the following:

  • Pain when biting or chewing
  • A hole that you can feel with your tongue or see in the mirror
  • Rough spots or sharp edges on one or more teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Discomfort or pressure at your gumline

If you suspect that you may have tooth decay or a cavity, your dentist can provide you with some treatment options that will prevent further damage and will offer the best chance of saving the tooth or teeth affected:

  • Dental fillings are by far the most common treatment option for small to medium-sized cavities. Your dentist will first clean out all the decayed material from the tooth and will smooth the edges of the cavity to help the filling stay in more securely. Gold, silver and amalgam fillings are available. For front teeth, composite tooth-colored fillings can blend with your natural tooth color to provide a less-noticeable solution for your cavities and tooth decay.
  • If you have an infection at the roots of one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend that you undergo a root canal procedure. This may be performed in your regular dental office in Florida or at an oral surgeon’s office. During a root canal, the inside pulp and nerves of the tooth will be removed and replaced with inert dental materials. This can relieve pain while allowing you to retain your natural tooth.
  • Severely damaged teeth may need a crown or cap. These dental devices fit snugly over the tooth and provide a solid structural base for biting or chewing safely. They also protect the tooth from further decay.

Your local dentist in Florida can assist you in finding workable solutions for preventing cavities and protecting your teeth. This can help you to enjoy better dental health for many years to come.

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