Cavities are spots on the hard surface of your teeth that are damaged for good and turn into tiny holes or openings. Cavities, also called tooth decay or caries, are because of a number of things, such as bacteria in your mouth, often snacking, drinking sugary drinks, and not cleaning your teeth well.
Tooth decay and cavities are two of the most common health problems in the world. They happen most often in children, teens, and older people. But anyone with teeth, even babies, can get cavities.
If you don’t treat cavities, they get bigger and affect more of your tooth. They can cause a bad toothache, an infection, or even tooth loss. Your best defense against cavities and tooth decay is going to the dentist regularly and brushing and flossing well.
To Prevent Cavities
- Use toothpaste with fluoride at least twice daily when brushing your teeth. If you can, brush your teeth after every meal and especially before bed.
- Use floss or an interdental cleaner like the Oral-B Interdental Brush, Reach Stim-U-Dent, or Sulcabrush to clean in between your teeth every day.
- Use a fluoride-containing mouthwash every day to clean your teeth. Some rinses also contain antiseptics that kill the bacteria that cause plaque.
- Eat well-balanced meals and try not to snack too much. Avoid carbs like candy, pretzels, and chips, which can stick to the surface of your teeth. If you eat something sticky, brush your teeth soon after.
- Talk to your dentist about using extra fluoride, which makes your teeth stronger.
- Ask your dentist about dental sealants, which are plastic coatings that can be put on the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to keep them from getting cavities.
- Drink water with fluoride in it. Children need to drink at least a pint of fluoridated water daily to stay healthy.
- Go to the dentist often for professional cleanings and exams of your mouth.
What Happens If You Don't Treat Tooth Decay?
If you don’t treat tooth decay, it can lead to severe inflammation in the tooth, which can cause a very painful toothache. This is a well-known case of pulpitis. The problem can then turn into a serious infection. This is called a “tooth abscess,” It can also be very painful. In the end, tooth decay kills the tooth’s pulp.
If you don’t treat cavities, you might need a root canal or even have to take out the tooth. So it’s important to find cavities as soon as possible.
Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay, which is one of many hidden risks. In addition, plaque on your teeth can cause more damage, so it’s best to stop it from building up and get treatment as soon as possible.