Dental Care Tips to Prevent Cavities

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Who doesn't like to leave the dentist without any cavities? While tooth decay, or cavities, tend to be more common with children and teenagers, adults can also have this dental issue. Fortunately, there are steps individuals can take at any age to keep their mouth cavity-free. At Sunrise Smile Design in Phoenix, AZ, we want to help our patients take essential steps to prevent cavities and have good oral health. Dr. Rick Campbell and his caring team want to share some helpful tips for cavity prevention and dental care.

What causes cavities/tooth decay?

Tooth decay and cavities are caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene, bacteria in the mouth, consuming sugary drinks or food, and frequent snacking throughout the day. Tooth decay breaks down or damages teeth. Every tooth has three layers – the outer layer (enamel), middle layer (dentin), and a center (pulp). Your teeth are covered by a sticky film called plaque or bacteria. After a snack or meal, the bacteria turn the sugars in drinks and food into acid. The harmful acid begins to attack the enamel of your tooth. If the decay penetrates the enamel, a cavity forms, and once it develops, it can spread into deeper layers of the tooth.

Tooth decay symptoms

If a cavity, or tooth decay, is left untreated, the infection spreads. You may experience tooth pain or have trouble sleeping or eating. However, you may not experience any symptoms or signs as the cavity continues to grow. It's important to see your dentist regularly to have your teeth examined and professionally cleaned, and X-rays are taken when necessary. A few common tooth decay symptoms are:

  • Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold
  • Toothache or localized tooth pain in the target area
  • Loose fillings
  • Halitosis or constant bad breath even with regular brushing and flossing
  • Dark spots on the tooth enamel

Tips for cavity/tooth decay prevention

Taking care of your teeth and gums not only prevents cavities but also ensures you won't need to revisit the dentist to get a filling. Tooth decay is the second most common disease right after the common cold. Oral health is an essential part of our everyday lives, and it is never too late to take control and prevent dental problems like tooth decay. While daily brushing and flossing are crucial for proper oral hygiene, Phoenix, AZ patients can protect their dental health by following these simple steps:

  • Brush twice a day, ideally after every meal and before bed, to prevent bacteria from lingering on your teeth.
  • Make it a habit to regularly floss at night before brushing to get into a good routine. Flossing dislodges food particles that can get stuck in between the teeth, which can encourage tooth decay.
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride to help strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant to tooth decay. It is also generally recommended to replace your toothbrush every three months.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit your consumption of sugary drinks and sweet treats. If you must indulge in sweets, do it after a meal as your mouth produces more saliva when you eat, helping to rinse away any bacteria or sticky residue.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking and tobacco use are harmful to your teeth and gums. It not only stains your teeth but is also an unhealthy habit that can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and even cancer.
  • Visit our team at Sunrise Smile Design twice a year for a professional teeth cleaning and oral checkup. Be sure to let Dr. Campbell know if you are experiencing any oral health issues or tooth pain at your appointment.

Preventive dental care is vital to keep your mouth cavity-free. It is an important daily task to keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile beautiful. At Sunrise Smile Design, Dr. Rick Campbell and his dedicated team are here to help. Take control of your oral health and contact our Phoenix, AZ office to schedule a dental exam with Dr. Campbell today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.