Although they aren’t visibly obvious at first, cavities can be the biggest concern for many people’s smiles. The frequency and ease with which cavities can seem to develop plays a significant part in why. What most people recognize as a cavity is the product of an underlying tooth infection in your tooth structure. The cavity forms because the structure in that area of the tooth is being eroded by decay. Despite the fact that cavities are common, this doesn’t mean that you can’t prevent them. In fact, in many cases, successfully doing so can be much easier and more effective than you might realize.
Why cavities can form easily
The formation of tooth decay and cavities isn’t something that’s always obvious at first, and can begin much sooner than you realize. Tooth decay, which is the infection in your tooth structure that occurs from harmful oral bacteria, begins when these bacteria produce substances to erode your healthy tooth enamel. Once this protective layer is compromised, bacteria can more easily reach and infect the tooth’s structure. A cavity, or hole, forms at the site of decay, and grows larger the more of your tooth structure becomes decayed.
The basics of good cavity prevention
For many people, the presence of tooth decay and a cavity isn’t noticeable until the tooth becomes severely sensitive due to the cavity’s development. At this point, it can often be too late to save the enamel from damage or the tooth structure from being infected. Because of this, the most effective way to prevent a cavity from forming is to prevent oral bacteria from having the chance to cause tooth decay. This requires keeping your teeth and gum line consistently clean of oral bacteria, both with good dental hygiene at home and preventive care at your dentist’s office.
How to boost your chances of succeeding
Keeping oral bacteria from lingering on your teeth too long is the basic principle of cavity prevention. Yet, if it were as simple as that, then cavities wouldn’t still be the most common oral health concern for both children and adults. The weak link in many people’s efforts is consistency; oral bacteria don’t stop accumulating on your teeth or trying to weaken your tooth enamel. After a certain point, this damage is irreversible, and the only way to save your tooth from decay will be to treat the cavity, such as with a tooth-colored filling.
Learn more about preventing cavities
It doesn’t take much for a cavity develop, but fortunately, you have a good chance of preventing just as easily. To learn more, schedule a consultation with us by calling the office of Dr. Stuart Dexter in Prairie Village, KS, today at 913-362-8200.