Health & Fitness

Tooth decay (caries): Causes, treatment and prevention


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What foods cause tooth decay?

There is no particular food that causes tooth decay. All the foods we eat are subject to become plaque if there is no proper cleaning. However, there are foods that affect teeth more than others. For example, sticky foods rich in sugar are usually tougher to brush off, which is why they are worse for our teeth.

Carbohydrates like sweets and starch, along with frequent meals, increase the risk of caries. Try brushing after every meal, but especially after eating sticky and starchy foods.

If you can not brush your teeth after every meal, you should at least rinse your mouth with water.

Symptoms of caries

Symptoms of tooth decay may vary according to the severity. There may be no symptoms until the gap in the tooth affects the nerve.

Visit your dentist if you experience any of the following:

Toothache or a painful sensation in your teeth
Sensitivity to sweet, cold or hot food
Visible pits or holes in the teeth

Most cavities are discovered in its early stages during routine dental checkups..

Treatments for tooth decay

If your dentist discovers a cavity during a dental checkup or cleaning, he will discuss with you the treatment options depending on the size and where it is located. Treatment for dental cavities is usually simpler and less costly the faster the patient seeks professional help.

The main treatment option for cavities is to drill out the damaged portion of the tooth and place a filling (restoration) that can be made of different materials such as composite resin, amalgam or porcelain. Extensive damage may require a crown, root canal or tooth extraction

How can you prevent cavities?

It is very important to seek care from a dentist at the first sign of tooth decay because if it is not done, an extensive (and expensive) treatment may be necessary or may result in the removal of the piece.

Follow these tips to prevent tooth decay:

Brush your teeth after every meal. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for two minutes. Or, better care, brush after every meal and snack. If you can not brush, at least make an effort to thoroughly rinse your mouth with water.

For babies or children younger than two, clean their teeth as soon as they come in with a clean, soft cloth or a baby’s toothbrush at least once a day. It’s best to clean them right before bedtime.

Use mouthwash. For added protection against cavities, using mouthwash with fluoride twice a day after brushing.

Get a professional cleaning every six months. Professional dental cleanings should be scheduled at least every six months. If you are prone to dental problems or have a case that needs more attention from a dentist, you can make more frequent visits.

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