Cavities are among the most prevalent oral health problems. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in the years 2015-2019, 13.2% of children aged between 5 and 19 had untreated dental caries while 25.9% of adults aged 20-44 had untreated dental caries. However, many people have misconceptions about the nature of tooth decay. In this article, we’ll outline the signs, causes, and risk factors of cavities.
Signs You Have Cavities
At the onset of a cavity, it is possible to ignore the signs since they can be mild or unnoticeable. But as the condition worsens, you may experience symptoms such as sensitivity and pain. The symptoms will also vary depending on the location of the affected tooth. You may notice black or brown stains on the surface of the tooth, and you may be sensitive to temperatures. You may want to visit your family dentist in Charlotte at Caldwell, Bills, Petrilli & West & West if you feel pain when eating hot or cold foods.
Causes of Tooth Cavities
Cavities start with a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque consists of bacteria and sugars from the food you consume. When bacteria break down food particles, they produce acids that erode the enamel of your teeth and create cavities. Within 24 hours, plaque can turn into a harder substance called tartar, which can only be removed by a professional dentist.
Risk Factors for Adults
Plaque and tartar are caused primarily by bacteria and poor dental hygiene. If you have cavities, your family dentist team at Caldwell, Bills, Petrilli & West & West can help.
Some risk factors for cavities in adults may include:
- Acid Reflux Disease: Acid reflux can wear away your enamel, which can put you at greater risk of cavities.
- Poor Nutrition: A healthy diet, free of acidic and sugary foods, can prevent oral health complications.
- Dry Mouth: Low levels of saliva in your mouth can increase the rate of bacteria multiplication. Your family dentist will assess the causes of your dry mouth. It may either be prescription medication or genetic factors.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your dentist will assess the extent and location of your cavities before recommending treatment. Treating cavities typically involves fillings, but if the decay is too extreme, your dentist may recommend a cap or a root canal to prevent further decay and infection.
Get the Right Treatment
Tooth decay can affect people of all age groups, including toddlers and seniors. Despite this, statistics show only 64% of adults had visited a dentist in the last year. It’s important to visit your local dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning to keep your teeth in great health. For more information on how to diagnose and treat dental cavities, call or visit Caldwell, Bills, Petrilli & West & West Dentistry in Charlotte, NC today.