You’ve probably heard about cavities before – they are part of the horror story that every parent and dentist tells their child to encourage good brushing habits and oral hygiene.
We all know that cavities can be caused by too much sugar, that they can be painful, and that they need to be treated quickly once detected.
But just how long can you leave a cavity untreated before you encounter serious issues? We took a closer look.
What Are Cavities?
Cavities are caused by bacteria that live in your mouth, and these bacteria feed off sugar and produce acids that eat away at your teeth.
Left untreated, cavities can spread throughout your mouth and eventually destroy your teeth. If left untreated, you may experience pain as well as tooth loss.
Cavities are caused by acids produced by certain types of bacteria. The bacteria multiply rapidly when there’s plenty of sugar available to feed on.
As soon as you eat something containing sugar, the bacteria begin to grow and produce acid, which eats away at the enamel layer of your tooth. This process eventually leads to a hole in the tooth.
If you suspect that you have a cavity, immediately rinse your mouth out with water and then use a gentle toothbrush to brush around the affected area.
Then, apply some fluoride toothpaste until it dries completely. Finally, call your dentist right away so they can examine the problem and provide you with advice about how best to care for your teeth.
The Basics Of Cavities
There are two types of cavities: primary (first) and secondary (recurrent). Primary cavities appear when there is not enough saliva in your mouth to kill the bacteria that cause them.
Secondary cavities occur when the bacteria have already been killed but haven’t been removed from your teeth.
Primary cavities are more likely to lead to tooth loss than secondary ones because the bacteria will continue to grow and multiply until they reach a critical mass where the acid produced by the bacteria eats through the enamel of your teeth.
The longer the cavity remains untreated, the higher the risk of tooth decay and eventual tooth loss.
How To Treat Your Cavities
If you notice any signs or symptoms of a cavity, it’s important to see your dentist right away.
However, if you do not see a dentist within 24 hours after noticing a cavity, you should rinse with water for 15-20 minutes and then brush your teeth vigorously using an appropriate fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
This will help prevent further damage.
If you do notice a cavity, you’ll want to remove any food debris from around the area. Then, fill the cavity with a dental filling material such as composite resin or amalgam.
Composite resin is a popular choice among dentists because it has excellent aesthetics and provides strong protection against bacterial invasion.
Amalgam is also commonly used for filling cavities because it is hard and durable. It is less expensive than other materials, however, so it is often chosen over composite resin.
How Long Can I Leave A Cavity Before Treatment?
You should leave a cavity alone for no longer than three days before seeking medical treatment from your dentist – leaving your cavity for any longer than this increases your risk of infection.
When Should I See My Dentist For Regular Checkups?
According to the American Dental Association, regular checkups are recommended for everyone aged six months and older and should take place every six months or yearly.
These visits allow your dentist to monitor your overall health and detect potential problems early on. In addition, regular checkups will ensure that your teeth stay healthy and strong.
It is also important to remember that cavities are only one of many diseases and conditions that can affect your teeth. Other common causes include gum disease, trauma, and periodontal disease.
By having regular checkups, you can identify and treat these problems before they become serious.
How Can I Keep My Teeth Healthy?
To keep your teeth healthy, follow these simple steps:
Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Use a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste and gently scrub all surfaces of your teeth.
If you’re brushing with too much pressure, you may be causing unnecessary wear to your gums and damaging your teeth.
Use floss regularly to remove plaque and food particles between your teeth. Flossing helps prevent the buildup of plaque and tartar which can lead to cavities.
Limit Sugar Intake
Sugar is a major contributor to cavities because it encourages the growth of bacteria in your mouth.
Try to limit your intake of sugary foods like candy, soda, and fruit juices. Instead, choose healthier options like fresh fruits and vegetables.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
Regular dental exams and cleanings are essential to keeping your teeth healthy.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist once a year to have your teeth cleaned and checked for decay.
Protect Your Gums
Gum disease is another leading cause of tooth loss. To protect your gums, try to avoid smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol.
Also, don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly to have your gums examined for signs of bleeding or redness.
Cavities can be very painful and uncomfortable and have the potential to cause serious long-term damage to your teeth if they are left untreated.
However, by following some basic guidelines, you can help reduce your chances of developing cavities and keep them under control.
Remember to schedule regular checkups with your dentist, and brush and floss daily to keep your teeth healthy, and keep cavities at bay.
Finally, remember to get cavities checked and treated as soon as possible to avoid the risk of long-term damage to your teeth.