If you have a cavity, you are likely wondering whether it needs to be tended to right away, whether it will get worse, if it will stagnate or possibly even improve in condition. A cavity is a tiny hole in the tooth that gradually expands as time progresses. This form of decay occurs when acid consumes the protective enamel on the teeth. As soon as the enamel is removed, the cavity will gradually eat the tooth until it hits the blood vessels and nerves in the tooth. Though you can be proactive and do some things to prevent your cavity from worsening at a rapid pace, the most prudent course of action is to have it filled at the dentist's office.
Here is what you can do in the meantime to help prevent the cavity from worsening.
Brush the Tooth With Care
Brushing is essential for tooth and gum health. Though you already have a cavity, it still makes sense to brush at least two times per day to help prevent the formation of even more cavities. Zero in on the cavity as you brush to eliminate any remaining food particles from your snack or meal. For all the good brushing does, it will not eliminate the cavity. The bottom line is you do not have the power to stop your cavity from growing. Your cavity will gradually expand to the point that it moves into the pulp chamber and spurs pain. If the cavity reaches the pulp of the tooth, it will require a root canal.
Hydration Will Help Prevent Additional Cavities
An overly-dry mouth will permit the accumulation of bacteria that causes cavities. Consuming an abundance of water will keep your mouth moist and help prevent additional cavities from forming.
Fluoride prevents bacteria from multiplying within the mouth. Fluoride remineralizes enamel to make teeth as strong as possible. Such fortified teeth are that much more resistant to cavities. In some cases, pinpointing a cavity in the early stages and applying a fluoride treatment will slow the decay. However, the cavity will gradually worsen across the long haul until it is removed and the remaining space is filled.
Saltwater Rinses Might Help
Saltwater has antiseptic properties. Oral health professionals often recommend patients use saltwater when a wound or infection is present in the mouth. Saltwater can even destroy bacteria that leads to the formation of cavities. Swish with salt water as soon as you find out you have a cavity and it just might slow its expansion.
Gum with Xylitol does all sorts of good things for your mouth. Xylitol is a natural alcohol that helps destroy bacteria and ward off infections. Chew Xylitol gum following snacks and meals to prevent the formation of cavities. However, once you have a cavity, Xylitol gum will not reverse the decay.
Avoid Refined Sugar
The worst thing you can do to your cavity is expose it to acid. Do not consume sugary beverages or foods after you find out you have a cavity. Cavities spawned by acid-generating bacteria will only continue to expand if surrounded by the acid in sugar. If you have a craving for something sugary, rinse out your mouth with water immediately after indulging. If possible, clean your teeth with floss and toothpaste in an attempt to slow the rate of tooth decay.
What's the bottom line?
For more preventive dentistry information or to schedule a dental check-up with Leardi Family Dentistry, request an appointment in our Kennett Square dental office here: http://www.leardidental.com. Or call us at (610) 571-2520.
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