Health & Wellness News and Tips
Priya K + Follow 22 Feb 2017
Cavities: No crown, no frown.

The most dreadful time is to visit a dentist. You barely come out with the same mood that you entered with. No amount of post-operation ice-creams is going to lure you to visit your dentist.

Wearing a crown on a tooth is no win at all. A cavity develops when a tooth decays or breaks down. A cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries, and if you have a cavity, it's important to get it repaired.

Know the drill?

You may ask why would a normal good looking tooth suddenly dig itself and develop a hole. Well, put it all on plaque, a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs that cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth. The acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel.

If you don't go to the dentist, the acids can continue to make their way through the enamel, and the inside parts of your tooth can begin to decay. If you've ever had a toothache or heard an adult complain about one, it may have been because there was a cavity that reached all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are.

Couch to ouch!

One fine afternoon you’re enjoying the dessert watching your favourite show and suddenly the pain shoots. Your tooth is crying for help. You brush twice a day, floss regularly, use a mouthwash after every meal, and yet there is a decay. Why would that happen?

Most people don’t know that cavities are caused by germs. Even more surprising is that these cavity-causing germs are infectious. The germs can actually be spread via saliva (typically from moms to babies) by sharing food, utensils, or even kisses. Sweet or high-carb foods and drinks feed the germs that cause decay. Continually snacking (or sipping sweetened lattes, juices or sodas) throughout the day means teeth are being exposed to a constant acid attack. If you have a snack, it’s better to eat it all at once rather than nibble throughout the day. Like muscles, teeth need time to rest and recover.

Many foods often considered healthy (granola bars, dried fruit) aren’t good for teeth. Cavities aren’t just caused by consuming too much sugar. When food sticks to teeth, it feeds the germs that cause cavities. Choose tooth-healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, and nuts. If you can’t resist that delicious treat, it’s good to brush afterwards. If you can’t brush, rinse your teeth with water.

Tips for prevention

Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth.

·         Brush your teeth in circular motion with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or at least twice a day. Bedtime is an important time to brush.

·         Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that's stuck between your teeth.

·         Limit sweets and sugary drinks, like soda or juice.

·         See your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups.

·         Strengthen your teeth's defences with fluoride and sealants, and reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

o   Fluoride strengthens teeth by penetrating the tooth structure and replacing lost minerals to repair acid damage.

o   Sealants are protective coatings placed over the tops of chewing teeth — molars and premolars. They block bacteria and acids from sticking in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces of these teeth. Children should get sealants soon after their teeth erupt into the mouth.

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