At Charvet Dental Center, we like to say we’ve been making Metarie smile for over fifty years. We’re proud to be a Metarie standard, and we’re grateful to be in a position to say that.
A big part of our commitment to serving the people of Southern Louisiana is our continuing efforts to keep our audience informed on the topics we believe are essential for dental and overall health and well-being. To that end, we know that one of the most common reasons for visits we see here at Charvet is the care and treatment of cavities.
But that leads us to some common questions. Chiefly, what are cavities? And how do they form? And, maybe most importantly, what can I do to avoid them?
We’ve answered these questions and more below, so read on to learn all about four of the most common causes of cavities.
Cavities – What Are They?
First thing first – cavities, otherwise known as dental caries, are areas of tooth decay caused by plaque buildup on and around the tooth. Cavities can lead to a host of other issues when left untreated, including tooth sensitivity, pain, as well as difficulty chewing our food.
Untreated cavities can progress to the point where they cause more severe problems, such as infection, abscess, or even the need for extraction of the tooth. Fortunately, we can use plenty of safe and effective treatments to a) prevent cavity formation and b) deal with any existing cavities once they’ve formed.
But speaking of how they form, well, how do they develop?
Cause #1 – Poor Oral Hygiene
This is the big one! If this one gets taken care of with proper care and maintenance, many of the following cavity problems will take care of themselves! So, what is poor oral hygiene, and how do we work to improve it?
Let’s start simple. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste do you have? Remember to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to eliminate cavity-causing plaque effectively. Now about flossing. Since it gets where brushes can’t and clean those hard-to-reach spots where plaque loves to hide, it’s important to be sure to floss daily. Incorporating these habits into your daily routine protects your teeth from cavities and maintains optimal oral health.
Cause # 2 – Sugary and Acidic Foods
This should come as no surprise to most of us! Especially if it’s paired with cause number one above, a diet full of sugary or acidic foods is a surefire way to end up in our chair while we work to take care of your cavities!
This is because the sugary foods we love to eat so much provide the perfect environment for the plaque-causing bacteria that leads to cavities forming. And acidic foods, conversely, do a great job of stripping away the protective layers of enamel from the teeth, serving as the first line of defense against cavities.
So what’s the solution? No sugary foods?
Luckily, no! The key is moderation and always brushing and flossing thoroughly after indulging in a treat. Keep that in mind, and you’re in the clear!
Cause # 3 – Lack of Fluoride
Did you know that we’ve intentionally added fluoride to our tap water as a public health policy since 1950? It’s true! The reason being this naturally-occurring mineral, present in all kinds of foods, works wonders for the enamel that strengthens our teeth and protects against cavities.
Not only that, but it’s standard pediatric dentistry for children to receive topical fluoride treatments starting from the growth of their very first baby tooth!
Increasingly, the dental community has come to recognize that adult fluoride treatment can be a fantastic option for many patients over 18, particularly if they tend to brush and floss regularly, eat right, and still wind up with issues surrounding their dental health.
Sometimes the body simply doesn’t produce enough fluoride or get enough from external sources, so a super-charged topical application can work wonders!
Cause # 4 – Dry Mouth
Dry Mouth is a common side effect of many regularly-prescribed medications for all sorts of different healthcare concerns. It can also occur as a result of numerous different disorders or conditions.
That being said, dry mouth is also an issue when it comes to cavity formation, as the body’s saliva works to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy. In the event that you or someone in your family has to manage a dry mouth due to one or more factors, we may prescribe something to stimulate the production of saliva in order to keep your mouth healthy and happy.
More Questions? Let’s Get You Sorted!
We’re so thankful you’ve decided to take the time to educate yourself on cavities with Metarie’s smile solution, Charvet Dental Center. We love working to keep our patients informed, and we can’t wait to work with them to promote the happiest and healthiest smiles in Southern Louisiana and beyond! Call us at (504) 834-6504 or just fill out this handy online form, and we can work on your happy and healthy smile today!