One of the biggest contributors to tooth loss is tooth decay. When you visit our practice, our dentist and team will check your mouth for signs of cavities and other forms of decay and disease. We also encourage you to review this page of information about preventing tooth decay so that you can continue to maintain high standards of at-home dental care. For more information on cavity prevention in Hialeah Gardens and Hallandale Beach, Florida, or to schedule your appointment with Dr. Victor J. Dongo, please contact our office.
Cavities, also known as tooth decay and caries, are common across the world and are caused primarily by poor dental hygiene and overly sugary diets. Cavities can be very painful and often lead to both tooth decay and periodontal disease if left untreated. When it comes to preventing cavities, visiting the dentist regularly, maintaining good oral hygiene and eating a balanced diet are all critical factors.
Cavities form when teeth are exposed to sugary foods on a regular basis. Sugars and carbohydrates collect on and around the teeth after eating and contribute to the formation of plaque on the tooth enamel. The bacteria in the plaque continue to ingest sugar particles and emit acids into the mouth. This acid attacks the tooth enamel, weakening it and exposing it to tooth decay. Eventually, the acid penetrates the enamel and begins to erode the inner portions of the tooth.
Large cavities can be extremely painful, but smaller cavities may not be felt at all. Sometimes, cavities can also form between the teeth, making them invisible to the eye. Symptoms of cavities include:
- Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
- Sensitivity to spicy foods
- Nighttime waking and crying (primarily in children)
Some steps to help prevent cavities include:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Replace sugary snacks and candy with natural foods and replace soda with water.
- Snack less frequently. Regular snacking unnecessarily exposes your teeth to sugars. When you are eating, make sure that you consume enough water to adequately cleanse the teeth.
- Avoid sticky foods when possible.
- Brush and floss. You should brush at least twice a day, or after every meal, and floss daily.
- Visit the dentist regularly. Keep all your routine appointments and follow the recommendations your dentist provides.
If you are trying to prevent cavities in your child’s mouth, we recommend taking additional precautions:
- Do not use the sippy cup beyond the intended age (about 12 months). Sugary liquids provided in sippy cups can continually swirl around the teeth, contributing to tooth decay.
- Rinse your child’s pacifier with running water. Do NOT suck on it to clean it with your own saliva.
- Do not send your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup. Ensure that your child has a drink before bed, then brush his or her teeth. If your child insists on having a bottle in bed, fill it with only water.
- Do not sweeten your child’s pacifier.
- Brush and floss your child’s teeth for them until about age 7.
- Ask your dentist about a fluoride assessment to ensure that your child is receiving the correct amount of fluoride to strengthen their teeth.
To learn more about preventing cavities and set up your appointment with our dental professionals, contact our practice today.