Did You Know that
Almost every adult will have tooth decay at some point.
One in four adults has an untreated cavity. (Centre for disease, control (CDC)
What is Cavity
A cavity is a little hole in your tooth and it refers to the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. When a plaque is formed, that is, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth when you eat or drink foods containing sugars. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with the teeth and breaks down the enamel over time.
Check out the symptoms below to determine what issues you may be having with your tooth and perhaps you are not experiencing any, it is advisable to take preventive steps.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be having a cavity
- If you are experiencing pain
- Food get caught up in your tooth
- Your tooth feels rough to your tongue or
- It hurts to eat something cold or sweet
Damage to the cavity may be extensive or may involve nerve damage leading to removal of the tooth. Depending on their severity, cavities can be treated with fillings, crowns or root canals.
Who is likely to suffer from cavity?
It affects adults, teens, and children, however, cavities are more common among children, but changes due to aging makes adults also suffer cavities or decay.
Tooth-Root Decay in people over age 50
It is common for people over age 50 to have tooth-root decay. A combination of increased incidence of gum disease and a decline of the gums away from the teeth can expose tooth roots to plaque.
Note that tooth roots are covered with cementum. Cementum is more sensitive to touch, to hot and to cold substances. It is a softer tissue than enamel, hence can suffer decay.Because many older adults did not use or access modern preventive dental care or fluoride whilst growing up, they usually have a number of dental fillings; hence, older adults also suffer decay around the edges, or a margin of fillings.
Over time, these fillings are weakened, fractured and begin to leak around the edges. Bacteria build up in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.
To reduce your chance of developing cavities or decay,
- Brush twice a day,
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Floss once a day. Use floss or interdental cleaner to clean between your teeth.
- Drink water with fluoride
- Eat healthy balanced diet
- Use fluoride toothpaste,
- Stay away from sugary food and drinks
- See your dentist regularly.
- Avoid or limit snacking
- There are supplemental fluorides that can strengthen your teeth
- You can also use dental sealants; dental sealant is a plastic protective coating that may be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decaying, as decay usually begins from the back teeth
But please do consult your dentist as regular visits for professional cleanings and oral examination is best.