One of the most important parts of preventative dental care is the detection and prompt treatment of cavities. If left untreated, these cavities can spread and damage the underlying structure of the teeth, that could lead to crowns, root canals, surgery or even tooth loss.
The good news is that when detected early, cavities can be easily treated, heading off more serious problems and allowing you to keep your bright white smile for a lifetime. Cavities happen when the bacteria in the mouth are allowed to grow, and that uncontrolled growth of bacteria in turn causes small holes that will eventually develop into larger cavities if untreated.
In some cases the cavity will be obvious and easy to spot. Some cavities cause severe tooth and mouth pain, and in some cases the pain can become so severe that emergency treatment is needed. Other cavities are not so obvious, and the pain they create can be low level and easy to ignore. In other cases pain may be absent entirely, and the cavity could go completely undetected until the damage is quite pronounced.
That is why it is so important for everyone, children and adults, young and old, to schedule regular dental checkups. The best defense against the intense tooth pain and serious complications cavities can cause is proper dental care. Having your teeth examined by a dentist twice a year is the best way to detect cavities in their earliest stages – when they are most treatable and least likely to cause long term harm to yourself or your smile.
You can also reduce the risk of cavities by brushing your teeth several times a day and flossing regularly. Proper brushing helps to dislodge the tiny food particles that feed cavity-causing bacteria. If left untouched those food particles can cause these harmful bacteria to grow out of control, but brushing after every meal can remove them and rob the bacteria of the fuel they need.
Flossing once or twice a day is another great way to fight cavities and keep your mouth clean. Flossing can reach places your toothbrush may have missed, removing those tiny food particles left behind and making cavities less likely.
Cavities can happen to anyone at any time, from the youngest children to the oldest adults. If you want to keep your natural smile for a lifetime, you need to watch for early warning signs, take care of your teeth with regular brushing and flossing and schedule regular visits with your dentist.