April 21, 2017
Cavities are preventable; they’re not a guaranteed problem you’ll have one day. However, they’re also very hard to fight all the time. That’s why most people have at least one dental filling in their teeth. But there are a few misconceptions about cavities that lead to them happening so often. For example, did you know that sugar does not cause cavities?
Call our Norton Shores, MI dental office today at 231-366-4182 and schedule your next dental cleaning and dental exam. Our team has the expertise needed to keep your mouth professionally clean, helping you fight cavities. Then our dentists can thoroughly examine your teeth and gums for any hidden problems — like cavities. Because you can have cavities without ever knowing it.
Where Cavities Come From
Tooth decay means the same thing as cavities for all practical purposes. It’s when you get holes in the enamel covering your teeth. But where do they come from?
Cavities are caused by harmful bacteria. Everybody has some of these in their mouth. They eat tiny particles of food left behind after you eat and drink. As a way of saying “Thank you,” they produce an acid. This stuff erodes holes in your teeth called cavities. (These bacteria are the same ones that cause gum disease.)
How does sugar enter into it? Although the bacteria can survive on just about anything you eat, they thrive on sugar because it’s packed with calories. The more sugar you eat, the more you let those harmful bacteria multiply and spread. That’s why sugar is linked to (but does not cause) tooth decay.
Avoiding Cavities Is Best
Cavities can be treated by our highly trained Norton Shores dentists with dental fillings. That said, the best treatment is to avoid cavities altogether. Here are the four biggest tips for doing that.
- Brush twice each day: Brushing gets rid of food particles that feed bacteria, but it also gives fluoride to strengthen your enamel.
- Floss every night before bed: Brushing often misses food stuck between your teeth. Flossing gets rid of that to control those bacteria.
- Limit how much sugar you eat: If sugar allows bacteria grow like crazy, then it makes sense to cut back on how much sugar you eat.
- Visit our Norton Shores, MI dental office regularly: Dental cleanings are still necessary, even with brushing and flossing. Plus, dental exams can catch problems while they are still small and easier to treat.
Cavity Facts You Need To Know
Here are some facts about cavities and fillings that you really need to be aware of.
Cavities keep growing silently until they are treated.
The bacteria causing tooth decay won’t stop until they are removed from that site. But the problem is that your enamel has no nerve endings. You can’t feel a cavity growing. That means you could literally have some cavities right now and not know it.
That’s why visiting Community Shores Dental every six months is so important. Our dentists can use their training and digital X-rays to identify tooth decay before it gets out of hand.
You’ll need a root canal if a cavity gets too deep.
Speaking of which, you do not want a cavity growing too deep. Your tooth has nerve endings and blood vessels below the enamel. If a cavity breaks through, the harmful bacteria will infect the tooth. This is very painful, but it also makes your tooth grow brittle.
The only way to get rid of that infection is through a root canal. While it’s not painful like you might have heard, it’s still avoidable if our dentists can catch your cavity in time.
You’ll need a dental crown if a cavity gets too large.
Dental fillings are normally used to treat cavities. They work great for that purpose, but they require healthy enamel to bond with. Otherwise, the filling will just fall out. But when a cavity grows too large, there’s not enough enamel left to hold onto.
In these cases, you cannot get a dental filling. Instead, you’ll have to get a dental crown. These caps cover over your whole tooth. Your cavity will be sealed, and your tooth will be protected.
You can get a tooth-colored filling instead of a metal amalgam one.
Metal amalgam fillings work, but they certainly do not look normal in your smile. That’s why our Norton Shores, MI dental office offers tooth-colored fillings instead. Made from a composite resin matched to your tooth’s color, these will repair the damage caused by tooth decay just as well. They just blend in with your smile.