Understanding Dental Cavities and Fighting Them

By: samkern
Dental cavities are more commonly known as tooth decay. The factors that affect tooth decay are: dental hygiene, the kind of food we eat and the amount of fluoride in our toothpastes. It is now recognized that family history of tooth decay is another risk factor for poor dentition. This is very common, as many people inherit tooth problems that have been passed down from generation to generation.

People who are at even higher risk of tooth decay are people who suffer from dry mouth. This is because they lack the protective effect of saliva. Dry mouth is very common, and is normally the result of medications, illness, and radiation treatment. Tobacco users will also suffer from dry mouth, as the tobacco will use up the saliva in the mouth and leave the user with nothing to keep his or her mouth moist.

Cavities are serious medical condition and if neglected, can result in the loss of the tooth. This can also destroy the nerves as well, resulting in an abscess. An abscess is very serious, as it infects the root tip. If left untreated, an abscess can result in death. Although you may not realize it, cavities are a very serious matter that can quickly spread to something even more serious.

It is highly advisable to have routine checkups with a dentist as he would be checking for dental cavities. Without visiting the dentist, it is impossible to tell whether or not you have a cavity. Most cavities develop below the gums, and you will not be able to see them. If the cavity exists in the tooth, you will be able to see it, as it will change the color of the affected area. If you notice a color change or a blackened area in your tooth, you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately.

The biggest risk factor for cavities is by far determined on the kind of food you eat. If you eat a lot of sweets or drink a lot of soda, you will be at a higher risk for cavities. Foods that are rich in sugar or starch are eaten by bacteria found in plaque, which will produce acids that eat through teeth. This acid is very harmful to teeth, as it can eat through the dentin and enamel in no time at all. If you do not do something about it, the acid will continue to eat at the tooth until there is nothing left to say - leaving you no choice but to get the tooth extracted.

Gradually, the tooth enamel that acts as a protective layer, will start to dissolve beneath the surface of your tooth, even though the surface will appear to be fine. Once the acid has managed to eat away enough of the enamel below the surface, the surface will collapse, which results in a cavity. After this has happened, if you do not get it treated, the tooth will continue to be eaten and the cavity will continue to spread until all of the tooth has been eaten, after which the enamel will be gone and your root will be exposed - which can be very painful.

The most common places for cavities to develop are in the pits of chewing areas around the back teeth, between your teeth, or near the gum line. No matter where they occur, the easiest way to spot them is to visit your dentist. Your dentist will be able to do x-rays and find out just how bad they are and tell you what options you have. If you visit him in time, he will be able to save the tooth and stop the cavity before it spreads throughout your tooth.
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