We all want to have a strong set of teeth that will last us a lifetime, but sometimes… that’s easier said than done! Cavities and tooth decay rank as the second most common health disorder in the U.S. To avoid tooth decay, you need to know how it starts, how to detect it, and how to protect yourself.
It all starts with plaque! When the sugars and starches in food aren’t thoroughly brushed or cleaned off your teeth, plaque begins to form. The problem with plaque is that it contains acids that remove minerals in your tooth’s hard, outer enamel. Eventually, the enamel erodes, causing tiny openings or holes. This is the beginning of a cavity.
You may not realize you have a cavity when it first develops! Warning signs of tooth decay include:
- Pain or a toothache that spontaneously occurs
- General tooth sensitivity or pain when you bite down
- A mild to sharp pain when you eat or drink something that is hot, cold or sweet
- Black, brown or white stains on any surface of your tooth
- Noticeable holes in your teeth
Now that you know how to detect tooth decay. Here are several ways to prevent it:
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day.
- Chew gum… sugar-free gum, that is 😉 Gum can actually be beneficial to dental health by removing stuck particles of food and pulling plaque off of your teeth.
- Consider a dental sealant. Sealants are a protective, plastic coating that seals off parts of your teeth that tend to collect food and bacteria.
- Sip on water instead of sugary drinks!
- Keep up with regularly schedules dental visits. A dental exam followed by a good professional cleaning not only leaves your mouth feeling fresh and your smile white, it also provides your dentist an opportunity to make sure you are cavity and plaque-free!
If you suspect tooth decay, don’t wait until your next scheduled dental visit, which could be weeks or months away. Contact Fulp Family Dentistry especially if you experience a toothache or mouth pain. Fulp Family Dentistry is a family dental office located in Tifton, Georgia. Dr. Nicole and Dr. Scott Fulp offer family dentistry and cosmetic dental services such as whitening, crowns, Invisalign, veneers, implants and more to Tifton and surrounding communities including Sylvester, Adel, Ashburn, Fitzgerald, Ocilla, and Nashville.