Cavities also known as caries or tooth decay are very common among kids, teens and young adults. This doesn’t mean that adults can’t get them too. In fact, when you understand why it happens, you’ll see why adults have it too.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) Cavities are so common that it’s often referred to as the second most popular health condition in the US after the common cold. They are also the most common cause of tooth loss among kids and adults.
It is interesting that certain people are predisposed to it. These are usually people from the low income class, those who drink non-fluoridated water, senior citizens, people whose mouths don’t produce enough saliva, those using drugs that inhibit the production of saliva, smokers, diabetics, tobacco chewers, and those who consume loads of sugary drinks and foods.
Causes of Cavities
There are two major causes of cavities in most people are; the consumption of foods and drinks with high sugar content and Oral bacteria.
Now, the oral bacteria is not a bad thing per se. It’s there to help with the breakdown of food particles. When it becomes a problem is when there is poor oral hygiene.
When left for longer than necessary in the mouth, these bacteria start breaking down sugars and carbohydrates to form acid. It’s these acids, combined with the food particles that form what is known as plaque. This film is often found in the lining of the gums, tooth filling edges, the back molars and on the teeth.
When left for a long time, this plaque forms what is known as tartar. This then goes on to cause periodontitis and gingivitis. The interesting thing is that this often starts within 20 minutes of your last meal or consumption of sugary drinks.
Given enough time, the plaque combined with the acid starts working its way into the teeth. This is what results in tooth decay and cavities.
Cavity Treatment Options
There are often three different treatment options for people suffering from cavities
- Root Canals
- Tooth Fillings
These three treatment options may not be necessary at once. All three can be used at different stages of the tooth decay. The important thing is that they can be so effective that the patient never experiences those cavities again till the end of their lives.
These are for extreme tooth decays. They are best used for when the nerve in the tooth is dead from prolonged decay or injury.
The procedure often involves the removal of the dead tissue and the pulp from the tooth’s center. Then, the root of the tooth is then filled using sealants, after which the tooth is filled and a crown is placed on the tooth to seal it up.
Tooth decay often result in the exposure of nerve endings. This is why when you chew on something with that tooth, you’re bound to experience severe pain. The dentist will have to drill the tooth to get rid of the decay, and then fill it using porcelain, amalgam, gold, composite resin or silver alloy.
While you could use any of these, your dentist will be more inclined towards using the gold and silver alloys for the molars and porcelain and resin fillings for the more obvious teeth. Talk to your dentist about your options and they’ll help you make the right decision.
Caps or Crowns
This is often used when there’s little or no tooth structure left from the decay. To do this, the dentist will have to get rid of the bad part of the tooth and replace whatever is left of the tooth with the crown.
These are the three most common treatment options. If you suspect that you or your kids have cavities, visit your local dentist, like Orlando Smiles in Orlando, FL today and have that looked at before it gets out of hand and the tooth would have to be removed completely.
Oscar King is a freelance writer and family man who contributes articles and insight into running a smooth and effective household. If you would like to learn more about Oscar, check out his Google+ profile.