Tooth decay is one of the most common health problems in the world, second only to a common cold. Children and younger adults are usually more susceptible to tooth decay and dental cavities, but they can affect absolutely anyone who happens to have teeth.
What Causes Dental Cavities
Bacteria are found in the mouth of almost everyone. These bacteria will turn food debris left in the mouth (especially sugary or starchy foods) into acid, which will mix with your saliva to form plaque. If the plaque is not brushed and flossed away regularly, these acids will begin to eat away at the enamel on the teeth. Once the enamel is worn down, small holes will be created in the tooth. These holes are known as dental cavities.
Unless a dental cavity grows larger and affects the nerves of the tooth, they aren’t usually painful. However, if the dental cavity goes untreated, it may burrow deeper into the tooth until it reaches the center of the tooth (known as the pulp.) Once this happens, you’re at risk for an infection, known as a tooth abscess. These infections are very damaging and painful and may even lead to the loss of your tooth.
Do I Have A Dental Cavity?
Keep in mind that there may be no symptoms of a dental cavity. However, if symptoms do occur, they may include:
- An ache or pain in the tooth
- Sudden sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or sugary meals
- Visible holes or pits in the tooth
- Discoloration of an area of the tooth
Avoiding A Dental Cavity
Dental cavities are no fun, but there are ways to avoid them or at least decrease their likelihood. The best way to avoid getting a dental cavity or tooth decay is by practicing good oral hygiene at home. This includes brushing at least twice a day for two minutes at a time, flossing at least once a day, and visiting PeakView Dentistry every six months for a dental cleaning and exam. We’re able to catch any potential problems early on before they become too out of control and painful.
To make an appointment at our office, or if you think you may have a dental cavity that needs treatment, please contact our Boulder, CO dentist at PeakView Dentistry.