Just because cavities are so common doesn’t mean you can properly treat them at home. Only your dentist can do that!
No one wants a cavity, but chances are high that you will have one during your lifetime. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, 90 percent of people age 20 or older have at least one cavity.
Given tooth decay is a widespread oral health problem, can you take care of a cavity at home without going to the dentist? Is there a so-called “natural” cure for a cavity? Definitely not! Due to how cavities develop, they can only be remedied by scheduling an appointment with your dentist.
How do cavities form?
A cavity or dental caries develops when bacteria in your mouth combine with the sugars in the sweets and starches you consume to form a sticky film called plaque. When bacteria and plaque remain on the teeth for a long time, the two substances create an acid that eats away at the enamel covering your tooth. The result is a noticeable hole or pit in the tooth.
As the enamel continues to erode, the decay can reach through the next layer, the dentin, and into the pulp, where nerves and blood vessels reside. The further the decay goes into the tooth, the more likely you’ll experience symptoms such as severe toothache, pain when biting down, and sensitivity to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
The top risk factor for dental decay is failing to brush and floss regularly. These simple tasks clean off most bacteria and plaque on your teeth, reducing the chance they form a destructive acid.
But there are other risk factors as well. People with dry mouth have a heightened risk of decay because they produce less saliva. Saliva is essential for oral health as it cleanses food particles and bacteria. It also neutralizes the acid in plaque.
Why your dentist is the only answer for cavities
The CDC notes one in four or 26 percent of adults in the U.S. have untreated tooth decay. Fear may be one reason so many avoid going to the dentist. The Cleveland Clinic says 36 percent of people in the U.S. fear dental treatment, a condition known as dentophobia.
But getting a cavity treated is nothing to fear. In one visit, the cavity is filled in a painless procedure only a dentist can perform. Your tooth is free of decay and made stronger. Any slight discomfort is well worth it to prevent severe complications from untreated tooth decay, including:
Pain. Pain from a toothache can be unrelenting and interfere with your daily life.
Abscess. A bacterial infection can cause an abscess on the gums. If not treated, the infection may spread to other parts of the body, including the heart.
Difficulty chewing. A severely decayed tooth may disrupt the alignment of your teeth, making chewing difficult and painful.
Tooth loss. As the decay invades more of the tooth, it may break apart and fall out. Missing teeth can affect your appearance, speaking ability, and your self-confidence.
Yet all those complications can be avoided by following good dental hygiene practices. Daily brushing and flossing is the first step in stripping away bacteria and plaque. Fluoride is a natural cavity fighter, so get as much fluoride as possible by using fluoride toothpaste, rinsing with a fluoridated mouthwash, and drinking fluoride-packed tap water.
Since sugar fuels the enamel-destroying acid on the teeth, cut back on sweets and starches. Instead, load up on vegetables and fruits to increase saliva flow and help wash away bacteria.
And see your dentist at least twice a year! Those visits allow your dentist to spot tooth decay and initiate immediate treatment. Moreover, your dentist can suggest cavity-fighting therapies, such as fluoride or antibacterial treatments. That way, you can avoid dealing with a cavity altogether.
Let’s fight cavities together!
Schedule an appointment at Espire’s La Mesa location today! Our highly trained dentists can check your teeth for cavities and start treatment. We also provide practical cavity-fighter tips. Don’t live near our La Mesa, CA, office? Find one of our other locations near you.
La Mesa, CA
8555 Fletcher Pkwy.
La Mesa, CA 91942