Although cavities are largely preventable, 96% of adults have a history of cavities. The average number of teeth affected by decay in those aged 6-19 is 2.5. Untreated cavities can lead to more serious issues over time, including root canal or tooth loss. Knowing when you have a cavity is important to prevent it from becoming worse.
If you have not yet had a cavity, you may not be able to tell if one is forming. Here are some signs that you should be aware of so that you can contact your dentist for timely intervention:
A common sign of an untreated cavity is tooth pain. When you have a toothache, that is a signal that it is time to see your dentist. Initially, you may feel pain when biting something hard, but over time, you may also experience it with softer foods.
When consuming something hot or cold, do you notice your teeth feeling sensitive? This may occur as your tooth enamel begins to thin out. A toothpaste for sensitive teeth may help, but if not, you likely have a cavity.
Dark spots on your tooth
This may also indicate a cavity that has gone untreated. This indicates that bacteria are working its way into your tooth’s enamel.
Having bad breath can arise from several conditions, including cavities. The bacteria that are formed as your tooth decays is one sign of cavities. You may also find that you have a bad taste in your mouth.
Chips or breaks
Chipping or breaking your tooth can occur when you bite down on something hard, and this could be the result of an existing cavity. Seek treatment as soon as possible before the tooth breaks completely.
Pus is a serious sign. This indicates that your cavity has turned into an abscess. This may lead to considerable pain and might also cause swelling in your glands. If you see pus, do not hesitate to see your dentist immediately. They will be able to prescribe antibiotics to keep they abscess from worsening.
Getting Rid of Cavities and How to Prevent Them
It may be possible to re-mineralize the weakened areas of your enamel before a cavity forms, but once a cavity has reached the dentin (the part of the tooth immediately under the enamel), you will have no choice but to seek treatment from your dentist.
Aside from brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly, you can help to prevent cavities by avoiding sugary foods and drinks. Consider the following tooth-friendly foods instead:
- Cheese and dairy have calcium, protein, and vitamin D to help keep your enamel healthy.
- Crunchy fruit and vegetables help stimulate the flow of saliva, your mouth’s natural cleaning agent. They can also help scrub away plaque.
- Green and black teas contain compounds that can suppress bacteria, slowing the formation of cavities.
- Sugarless chewing gum, when chewed after a meal, can help remove acid from your teeth. Gum sweetened with xylitol may even help inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Cost of Fillings
The cost of a filling will depend on the size and type. For example, dental composite fillings that match the colour of the tooth will be more expensive than silver ones, however they offer additional health benefits. One thing is certain—cavities cost more than prevention.
While cavities are quite common, they are also largely unnecessary if you follow a proper course of dental hygiene and regular checkups. For more information on avoiding cavities, or if you suspect that you may have one, contact us today.