Cavities are one of the most common dental problems that affect millions of people around the world. They are caused by the breakdown of tooth enamel by bacteria that live in the mouth. If left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth pain, infection, and tooth loss. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent cavities from getting worse or even stop them from forming in the first place. In this article, we will share with you some of the best practices and tips on how to prevent cavities from getting worse and how to prevent tooth decay from getting worse. We will also explain how saliva plays a vital role in preventing cavity progression. By following these simple steps, you can keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime.
- Early detection is crucial in preventing cavities from getting worse. Signs such as tooth sensitivity, toothache, visible spots or stains, and bad breath should not be ignored.
- Dietary changes can help halt the progression of cavities. Avoid or limit sugary, sticky, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks, and incorporate water, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds into your diet.
- In addition to diet, practicing good oral hygiene is important. Brush your teeth twice a day with an SLS free toothpaste such as the range of toothpastes from Perfora, floss daily, rinse with an alcohol free mouthwash, and chew sugar-free gum.
- Saliva plays a vital role in preventing cavity progression. Factors like aging, medications, diseases, smoking, and dehydration can reduce saliva flow. Taking steps to increase saliva flow and quality, such as drinking more water and using artificial saliva products, can help prevent cavities from getting worse.
Early Detection: How To Recognizing Early Signs Of Cavities
The first step to prevent cavities from getting worse is to detect them as early as possible. Cavities can develop in any part of the tooth, but they are more likely to occur in areas that are hard to reach or clean, such as the back molars, the grooves and pits of the chewing surfaces, and the spaces between the teeth. Cavities can also form around fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations that have become loose or damaged.
Some of the signs and symptoms of early cavities are:
- Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet, or sour foods and drinks
- Toothache or pain when biting or chewing
- White, brown, or black spots or stains on the tooth surface
- Visible holes or pits in the tooth
- Bad breath or foul taste in the mouth
If you notice any of these signs, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist can examine your teeth and take X-rays to confirm the presence and extent of cavities. Depending on the severity of the cavities, your dentist may recommend different treatments, such as:
- Filling: This involves removing the decayed part of the tooth and filling the cavity with a material such as composite resin, amalgam, or porcelain.
- Crown: This involves covering the entire tooth with a cap made of metal, ceramic, or porcelain to protect it from further decay and restore its shape and function.
- Root canal: This involves removing the infected pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth) and sealing the root canal with a rubber-like material. A crown is then placed over the tooth to protect it.
- Extraction: This involves removing the entire tooth if it is too damaged to be saved. A dental implant, bridge, or denture can then replace the missing tooth.
Dietary Changes to Prevent Further Tooth Decay
Another important factor that can affect the development and progression of cavities is your diet. What you eat and drink can have a significant impact on the health of your teeth and gums.
Some of the foods and drinks that you should avoid or limit to prevent cavities from getting worse are:
- Sugary foods and drinks: These include candies, chocolates, cakes, cookies, pastries, ice cream, soda, juice, sports drinks, and energy drinks. Sugar is the main source of food for the bacteria that cause cavities. The more sugar you consume, the more acid the bacteria produce, which can damage your teeth.
- Starchy foods: These include bread, crackers, chips, pretzels, pasta, rice, and potatoes. Starchy foods can break down into sugars in the mouth and feed the bacteria that cause cavities. They can also get stuck in the crevices of the teeth and create plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria and food debris that can harm the teeth and gums.
- Acidic foods and drinks: These include citrus fruits, tomatoes, vinegar, pickles, wine, coffee, and tea. Acidic foods and drinks can lower the pH of the mouth and weaken the enamel, making it more susceptible to decay. They can also cause tooth sensitivity and enamel erosion.
If you're interested in learning more about how to prevent cavities naturally, be sure to read our comprehensive guide on natural cavity prevention here.
Some of the foods and drinks that you should include or increase in your diet to prevent cavities from getting worse are:
- Water: Water is the best drink for your oral health. It can help rinse away food particles and bacteria from the mouth and keep it hydrated. It can also help balance the pH of the mouth and prevent dry mouth, which can increase the risk of cavities.
- Dairy products: These include milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter. Dairy products are rich in calcium, phosphorus, and protein, which can help strengthen and remineralize the enamel.
- Fruits and vegetables: These include apples, carrots, celery, cucumbers, leafy greens, and berries. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which can benefit your overall health and immunity.
- Nuts and seeds: These include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Nuts and seeds are high in healthy fats, protein, and minerals, which can support your oral and general health.
By making some simple changes to your diet, you can prevent cavities from getting worse and improve your oral health.
Tips on How to Prevent Cavities from Getting Worse
Besides changing your diet, there are some other tips that you can follow to prevent cavities from getting worse. These include:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with an SLS free toothpaste: You can use an SLS free toothpaste that contains ingredients such as xylitol, baking soda, charcoal, or coconut oil, which can also help prevent cavities from getting worse
- Flossing your teeth once a day: Flossing can help remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth, where your toothbrush may not reach. This can prevent bacteria from accumulating and causing cavities. You should use a gentle back-and-forth motion, sliding the floss between each tooth and under the gum line. Perfora offers a range of electric water flossers designed for effective oral hygiene. These flossers come in various colours and modes, suitable for different dental needs. They are engineered to remove plaque efficiently and help in maintaining oral health by reaching areas that regular brushing or flossing might miss.
- Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash: A mouthwash can help freshen your breath, kill bacteria, and reduce plaque in your mouth. You can use a mouthwash that contains natural ingredients such as Aloe Vera, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, or clove oil, which can also help prevent cavities from getting worse.
- Chewing sugar-free gum: Chewing gum can help stimulate the saliva production in your mouth, which can help wash away food particles and bacteria, neutralise the acid, and remineralize the enamel.
By following these tips, you can prevent cavities from getting worse and protect your teeth from further damage. You should also visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings to prevent and treat any dental problems.
The Role of Saliva in Preventing Cavity Progression
One of the most important factors that can help prevent cavities from getting worse is saliva. Saliva is a natural fluid that is produced by the salivary glands in your mouth. Saliva has many functions that can benefit your oral health, such as:
- Lubricating your mouth and throat, which can help you swallow, speak, and taste
- Moisturizing your mouth and lips, which can prevent dry mouth and cracked lips
- Cleaning your mouth and teeth, which can help remove food particles and bacteria
- Neutralizing the acid, which can help balance the pH of your mouth and prevent enamel erosion
- Remineralizing the enamel, which can help repair the early stages of decay and strengthen the teeth
- Fighting infections, which can help prevent gum disease and tooth decay
Saliva is essential for preventing cavities from getting worse. However, some factors can reduce the saliva flow and quality in your mouth, such as:
- Aging, which can affect the function and number of salivary glands
- Medications, which can have side effects such as dry mouth
- Diseases, which can affect the salivary glands or the nervous system
- Smoking, which can irritate the mouth and reduce the saliva production
- Dehydration, which can result from not drinking enough water or losing fluids through sweating, vomiting, or diarrhea
If you have low saliva flow or quality, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Dry mouth or throat, which can cause discomfort and difficulty in swallowing, speaking, and tasting
- Bad breath or foul taste, which can result from the accumulation of bacteria and food debris in the mouth
- Increased plaque and tartar, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay
- Tooth sensitivity or pain, which can result from the exposure of the dentin (the layer under the enamel) or the pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth)
- Mouth sores or infections, which can result from the lack of protection and healing provided by saliva
If you have low saliva flow or quality, you should consult your dentist for diagnosis and treatment. Your dentist may prescribe artificial saliva products, such as sprays, gels, or lozenges, to help moisten your mouth and relieve your symptoms. Your dentist may also suggest some lifestyle changes, such as:
- Drinking more water, which can help hydrate your mouth and body
- Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies, which can help stimulate the saliva production
- Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, which can dry out your mouth and reduce the saliva flow
- Using a humidifier or vaporizer, which can help add moisture to the air and your mouth
By increasing your saliva flow and quality, you can prevent cavities from getting worse and improve your oral health.
Cavities are a common dental problem that can cause tooth pain, infection, and loss. However, you can prevent cavities from getting worse or even stop them from forming in the first place by following some simple steps. These include:
- Detecting cavities early and getting treatment from your dentist
- Changing your diet and avoiding or limiting foods and drinks that can cause cavities
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-free toothpaste
- Flossing your teeth once a day
- Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride-free mouthwash
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Increasing your saliva flow and quality
By following these steps, you can prevent cavities from getting worse and keep your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime. You can also visit Perfora, a dental care company that promotes the use of safe and effective products, to learn more about how to prevent cavities and improve your oral health.
FAQs on Cavity Prevention
1. How can I stop cavities from growing at home?
You can stop cavities from growing at home by following these steps:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-free toothpaste
- Floss your teeth once a day
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride-free mouthwash
- Chew sugar-free gum
- Drink water
- Avoid or limit sugary, sticky, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks
- Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings
2. How do you fix a cavity before it gets worse?
You can fix a cavity before it gets worse by getting treatment from your dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of the cavity, your dentist may recommend one of these treatments:
- Root canal
The sooner you get treatment, the better. Early treatment can prevent the cavity from getting worse and save your tooth from more damage and infection.
3. Can I wait 2 months to fill a cavity?
No, you should not wait 2 months to fill a cavity. Waiting too long to fill a cavity can cause the cavity to get worse and affect the deeper layers of the tooth. This can lead to more pain, sensitivity, infection, and tooth loss. You should get your cavity filled as soon as possible to prevent further complications and save your tooth.