by: Dr. Tom Swanlund
Cavities are holes in the teeth that vary in size and depth. They form when harmful acids erode the enamel.
Anyone can get cavities, but you can protect yourself with good dental care habits. Regular brushing, flossing, checkups, and dental hygiene cleaningscan keep your teeth strong and healthy.
How common are cavities in Canada?
Cavities are the most common chronic diseases among children in Canada. Over 50% of children ages 6 to 11 have had a cavity¹.
Children may also experience a related dental concern called early childhood caries (ECC). Surgeries for treating ECC are the most common among children in Canada, especially among Indigenous children.
In general, cavities affect children more, but adults can develop them too.
Why do cavities occur?
Harmful bacteria feed off starch and sugar. The food debris, bacteria, and acid combine and form a thin film called plaque.
Plaque is hard to see because of its transparent color, but thankfully, it can be removed by brushing. If plaque lingers, the acids in it break down the enamel. This results in holes called cavities.
Several factors like receding gums, thinning enamel, dry mouth, and a sugary or starchy diet can make adultsmore vulnerable to cavities.
Eating disorders and acid reflux can also increase your risk for tooth decay. If you have dental fillings, decay can still form around their edges.
You may not notice cavities if they’re only starting to form. Here are symptoms you can look out for:
Dentistscan diagnose cavities upondental examination by using various dental instruments. They may also recommend X-rayswhich can locate a cavity before it’s even visible.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medications to help you feel better before your appointment.
Avoid food and beverages that may trigger tooth sensitivity while waiting to see your dentist. Continue to brush and floss your teeth to prevent deposits from building up and further irritating the area.
Your dentist can customize a treatment plan for you after diagnosing the issue. Treatment options depend on the severity of the cavity.
You can prevent cavities by making simple lifestyle changes. Boost your oral hygiene routine with the following tips:
Untreated, cavities can lead to tooth loss. Youmight not know you have one, so be sure to see your dentist regularly. Commit to regular dental visits even if your mouth looks and feels fine.
Looking for a dentist in Winnipeg, Manitoba? Contact us at Aqua Dental Wellness today.
Our teamhas been helping our Winnipeg neighbours achieve and maintain healthy smiles for over 30 years. We’re more than happy to serve more members of our community.
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