Many people wonder what and what causes the feelings of discomfort, distress and pain in their teeth that eventually leads to tooth loss. They are known as CAVITIES. Cavities in oral health are those holes that appear after the teeth has been decayed for a long time.
Cavities don’t just appear in the dentition, they come in little forms which are often neglected or not properly managed, and therefore build up to form full-blown those cavities which progress to tooth/teeth loss.
There are stages to this problem; it starts when bacteria is released on the hard surface of the teeth. With time, it spreads into the deeper parts if not properly checked and managed. If the teeth are well taken care of on a regular basis, cavities are totally preventable.
Stages of cavity formation
It starts with the formation of plaque. Some of the foods and drinks we ingest contain sugar, and if we don’t brush our teeth after taking them, the bacteria in the mouth feed on the tiny particles of sugar, thereby producing acids. These acids are then mixed with the saliva and the bacteria, forming a sticky thin layer called plaque on the teeth.
As soon as this forms, the accumulation of biofilm starts to eat into the enamel, which is the hard, normally white covering on the outer part of the teeth. The little openings that these acids cause make up the first stage.
The bacteria and the plaque continue their feeding on the teeth till they get to the pulp, which is the soft center of a tooth. At this developed stage, the pulp is decomposed and the bone that supports the tooth may be involved also.
TOOTHACHE AND ABSCESS FORMATION
When the decay gets to this stage, you start to experience sensitive pain and toothache as you bite or chew. If the bacterial infection causes the body to send white blood cells to fight it, it can lead to the formation of a pus-filled cavity called abscess.
HOW TO PREVENT CAVITIES
As we all know, prevention is better than cure, so instead of ignorantly doing things that are injurious to your oral health, strive to know what you should do and what you shouldn’t to ensure a clear and healthy dentition.
Reduce the risks of plaque formation by brushing after every meal using toothbrushes with soft bristles. If you’re not chanced to brush after a meal, rinse your mouth thoroughly with clean water.
However, brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush doesn’t mean you should merely scrape the surface of the teeth for some seconds before putting down the toothbrush. Divide your teeth into sections and spend at least a minute on each section. This should include your tongue also.
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can also help to prevent cavities. The frequency with which we ingest snacks, sweetened drinks and beverages shouldn’t be more than that with which we take in water because of the high sugar content in the former, which aids the formation of cavities.
Seeing a dentist frequently is an appropriate step to take in preventing cavities. Since cavities don’t have too many obvious symptoms or signs in their early stages, it is advisable to visit a dentist at least two times in a year for cleaning and examination.
Dentists are trained professionals, and they will be able to check for and detect those things that you normally wouldn’t. That would enable them to nip the problem in the bud before it generates into something major and disturbing.
Finally, it is instructive to note that lack of proper and regular oral care is the greatest cause of cavities. Have a dental routine, preferably mapped out by your dentist, and keep to it diligently. Practicing these preventive measures can help to reduce the risks of having cavities.