You’ve likely heard of cavities before – you may have even had one (or two). But most people don’t realize cavities are formed from an oral infection; tooth decay. However, cavities are very widespread across our population, endangering the oral health of millions. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), more than 20% of people have at least one untreated cavity – and they’re preventable! Even if you’re unable to avoid them altogether, your dentist can help you to catch tooth decay in its earliest stages – and then it can be reversed. If the decay does progress and form a cavity, don’t worry just yet – modern dentistry has made treatment better than ever.
Preventing Tooth Decay
The best way to avoid any oral infection is by practicing preventive dentistry; excellent oral hygiene, regular dentist visits, and maintaining a healthy diet.
“Excellent” oral hygiene refers to brushing your teeth twice each day – typically in the morning and evening – and don’t forget to floss! Twice each day would be ideal, but you should floss at least once per day. “Regular” dentist visits should occur every six months, but your dentist may recommend more frequent appointments (especially if you’re prone to bacteria). As long as you follow your dentist’s recommendation, they’ll continue to optimize your oral health. Lastly, a healthy diet consists of the proper nutrients your body needs. There are certain foods that can actually help further prevent decay – like cheese, for example – but otherwise, your diet should consist of lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
With regular dental appointments, your dentist can usually catch cavities in their earliest stages – making the process to reverse the decay altogether fairly simple. However, if not, you may need a dental filling. While this may sound familiar, most people associate dental fillings with the dark, metal material; amalgam (silver). Nowadays, fillings are made from tooth-colored material, known as composite resin, making for an aesthetically appealing restoration – and putting a stop to the decay.
If you haven’t seen your dentist in the last 6 months, now is the time to give them a call!