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How to Stop Tooth Decay and Cavity Formation

Dr Ali Saeed Sethi

2 min read

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The destruction of the hard outer layer of teeth is known as tooth decay. Tooth decay can occur at any age. Excessive intake of sugary drinks or foods causes plaque, a sticky bacteria, producing an acid that attacks tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with teeth and over time the tooth enamel breaks down and cavities start forming.

Generally, cavities are more common among children, but cavities also form with aging.  Recessions of the gums or gum diseases are more exposed to plaques and are more likely to form cavities. Tooth roots are covered with a soft tissue called cementum, this tissue is more sensitive to touch and to hot or cold. For people above the ages of fifty, tooth root decay usually occurs because of this sensitivity.

Decay around the edges of fillings is also common for older adults. Because cavities are usually filled with the provided modern preventive dental care but over the time these fillings may weaken and leak around the edges, bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices and lead to tooth decay. While there is no true tooth decay cure, there are treatment options.

Sometimes, a bad tooth is removed or a decayed portion is removed and the cavity is filled in or in case of dead nerves root canal is suggested by the doctors. The most important thing is to avoid tooth decay and make sure you keep smiling!

Top Tips

The following are the best tips to prevent tooth decay and avoid forming cavities:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste after each meal and especially before going to bed.
  • Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or interdental cleaners, such as the Oral-B Interdental Brush or Sulcabrush.
  • A fluoride-containing mouthwash is a best choice in this regard. Some rinses also have antiseptic ingredients to help kill bacteria that cause plaque.
  • Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacks. Try to avoid candies, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. Such foods stick on the tooth surface and attack tooth enamel and form cavities.
  • Ask your dentist about the use of dental fluoride as it strengthens the teeth.
  • Ask your dentist about dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars) to protect them from decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exam.
  • Ask your doctor about several materials that slowly release fluoride over time, which will help prevent further decay.
  • Use medically recommended toothpastes and  mouthwashes that can reverse and heal early cavities.
  • Oral-B electric toothbrush is best in removing plaque and help in preventing cavities from forming in the first place.
  • Take green leafy vegetables as they have calcium in them which decrease the amount of acids in saliva.
  • Eat high fiber foods like fruits, dates, raisins and fresh fruits like bananas, apples and oranges and figs.

3. Cut back on sugary and acidic drinks

Need that morning latte, daily cup of coffee, or hot cup of tea?  Prolonged exposure to teeth of acidic coffee or tea, compounded by added sugar or even just added milk can increase your risk for new cavities. Go ahead, enjoy your coffee! But try to keep it to 20 minutes or less, and rinse your mouth with water after.

The problem with sipping coffee with cavity causing additives such as sugar, syrups and cream is that the harmful sugars stay in your saliva over a long period of time. To counter this, drink some water along with other drinks to rinse your mouth and keep saliva from becoming too sugary and eating away at your teeth. Also, try sipping coffee from a straw which helps to keep those sugary liquids off your teeth and out of your saliva.

Visit your dental professionals for a checkup twice a year.  Professional cleaning and polishing do not only give you a bright smile but also remove stubborn plaque and tartar. A thorough check up will reveal small issues so you can get your problem solved.

Our expert doctors and dentists are here to detect any issue which a naked eye can’t. Seek their advice to get best oral care products for you.  You can book an appointment with top dentists from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the right doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr Ali Saeed Sethi - Author Dr. Ali Seethi is an endodontist (specialist dentist) based in Lahore. You may reach him out for a whole range of dental health issues, dental services, and seek professional advice.
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