Tooth decay can be a debilitating condition, but cavities do not have to get in the way of your life. Reach out to Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates today.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay refers to the development of cavities or areas of damage in a tooth’s surface that present as holes. When a patient leaves a cavity untreated, the cavity can grow in size and develop deeper into the tooth. While both severity and symptoms can vary across patients, tooth decay is a preventable condition. Overall, when a patient commits to consistent oral hygiene, he or she can prevent cavities.
Damage is reversible in the earliest tooth decay stages. Once a white spot appears on a tooth to signify the early loss of minerals, a patient can reverse tooth decay by drinking fluoridated water, maintaining a healthy diet and brushing and flossing consistently.
Once decay becomes severe, patients can deal with infections, pain that gets in the way of everyday life, tooth loss and weight loss as a result of eating difficulties.
What Factors Can Increase a Person’s Risk of Developing a Cavity?
A diverse range of lifestyle factors can influence the development of tooth decay. For example, frequent consumption of sugary beverages and other carbohydrates can erode the surface of a tooth. Inconsistent brushing and flossing of teeth can also allow room for decay to develop.
Patients who vomit frequently while dealing with bulimia are also at significant risk of developing dental cavities. Repeated exposure of the teeth to stomach acid wears the enamel away.
A fluoride deficiency can also leave a patient vulnerable to the development of cavities. Many cities fluoridate their public water supplies, and many mouth rinses and kinds of toothpaste include fluoride. However, individuals who consume mostly bottled water may risk developing a deficiency as most brands do not include fluoride.
Dry mouth is another significant risk factor. Saliva washes away the contamination that can lead to tooth decay, and without saliva, cavities have ample room to develop. Certain medicine, radiation or chemotherapy treatments and medical conditions can slow the production of saliva and increase a patient’s risk of developing cavities.
Symptoms of Dental Cavities
While cavities often develop before a patient even notices, decay can come with significant pain and other symptoms. For example, patients can deel with dental abscesses, swelling, breaking of the teeth, difficulties with chewing and shifting of the teeth.
Even when a child develops a cavity in a baby tooth, the symptoms can be excruciating and the effects can be lasting. Immediate response to any discomfort in combination with regular check-ups can prevent long term damage and keep teeth as healthy as possible.
Preventing Tooth Decay
When it comes to preventing the development of dental decay, it’s all about consistency. However, the ideal plan of action is different for every patient. Patients can stop decay before it starts by seeing their dentists for regular cleanings and drinking fluoridated water whenever possible. Dentists can also provide fluoride treatments to prevent cavities in certain cases.
Regular brushing and flossing of teeth is arguably a patient’s best defense against developing tooth decay. Ideally, a patient should brush twice a day for two minutes each time and floss at least once a day.
Children, in particular, can avoid developing dental cavities by receiving dental sealants. These are thin plastic coatings that fill a tooth’s natural pits and grooves to minimize the risk of decay.
About Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates
Patients from all over the Northeast Ohio community depend on the dentists from Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates to maintain good oral health. Across all locations, Dr. Marino & Associates and Dr. Nassif & Associates offers leading cosmetic and general dental care. To list, patients count on this dedicated team for tooth decay treatment, routine cleanings, implants, orthodontic care, emergency dental services, dentures, crowns and more.