Cavities are decayed areas of your teeth that turn into tiny holes or openings. There are several types of cavities: smooth surface cavities form on the smooth sides of your teeth, while root cavities form on the surface over the roots. On the chewing surface of your teeth, pit and fissure cavities form. Cavities are caused by poor oral hygiene, frequent snacking, and the consumption of sugary beverages.
Cavities are small holes or openings in your teeth’s hard surfaces that are permanently damaged. Cavities (Tooth decay or Caries) are caused by various factors, including bacteria in the mouth, frequent snacking, drinking sugary beverages, and not thoroughly brushing your teeth.
Cavities and tooth decay are two of the most common health problems that people face around the world. All ages are affected, including children, teenagers, and older adults. Cavities can affect anyone, including infants, who have teeth.
Cavities that aren’t treated grow more extensive and affect deeper layers of your teeth if they aren’t treated. They can cause a lot of pain, infection, and tooth loss. Your best defence against cavities and tooth decay is regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits.
Signs and Symptoms of Cavities
Different signs and symptoms appear depending on the size and location of the cavity. When a cavity is just getting started, you may not notice any symptoms at all. As the decay progresses, you might see signs like:
- Toothache, also known as “spontaneous pain,” that occurs for no apparent reason.
- Sensitive teeth
- When you eat or drink something sweet, hot or cold, you may experience mild to severe pain.
- Teeth with visible holes or pits
- Any surface of a tooth can be stained brown, black, or white.
- When you bite down, it hurts.
How Can We Prevent Cavities?
When bacteria and food left on the teeth after eating are not brushed away, cavities develop. Acid builds upon a tooth’s enamel, softening it until a hole or cavity forms.
Here’s how to avoid cavities:
- Good oral habits should be instilled in children at a young age. Teach your children to brush their teeth with a fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day and floss regularly.
- Fluoride is a chemical compound that contains fluoride. Fluoride hardens the enamel, making it more difficult for acid to penetrate.
- Some foods should be limited or avoided. Cavities are caused by sugary foods, juices, and candy (incredibly sticky gummy candy, gummy vitamins, fruit leather or “roll-ups”).
- As your child’s permanent teeth emerge, the dentist can help prevent decay by applying a thin coat of resin (known as a sealant) to the back teeth, which are used for the majority of chewing. This barrier prevents bacteria from settling in the molars’ hard-to-reach crevices. But make sure your kids understand that sealants aren’t a substitute for good brushing and flossing.
Process of Early Childhood Tooth Decay
The term ‘caries’ refers to the process of tooth decay. Teeth can develop chalky white areas in the early stages. Teeth with brown or black areas are in the later stages. Most of the time, the upper four front baby teeth are affected.
‘Nursing bottle caries,’ ‘infant feeding caries,’ and ‘baby bottle decay‘ are all terms used to describe this condition. These names are used because evidence suggests that settling babies and infants to sleep with a milk bottle or formula can cause early childhood caries (or other sweet drinks). As the baby sleeps, milk can pool in the mouth, and the lactose sugar in milk feeds the bacteria that cause decay. Because saliva flow is low while sleeping, it does not protect the body from damage.
Toddlers who drink sweet drinks such as fruit juices, cordials, or soft drinks may develop early childhood caries. Sugary foods and beverages should be avoided, especially in between meals.
Importance of Early Detection of Tooth Decay In Young Children
Early childhood caries can be reversed with the help of a dentist or other oral health professional in the early stages. Unfortunately, because the early stages of decay can be difficult to detect, early childhood decay is frequently overlooked until it has progressed to a more severe stage. It is currently irreversible, and the child may require extensive dental treatment.
Examine your child’s teeth regularly. Make an appointment with your dentist if you notice anything unusual.
What Do Cavities Look Like In The Beginning?
Dark spots on the tooth’s surface can appear when a cavity begins to form. These spots may appear to be simple staining at first, and you may even believe you have minor tooth discolouration. The dark spot, on the other hand, grows more significant over time, indicating tooth decay.
How Do I Know If My Tooth Is Stained Or Has a Cavity?
If you have a dark spot on your tooth, there’s a good chance you have an invisible hole. A cavity appears on your tooth as a brown, black, or grey spot. It’s an excellent method for determining whether or not you have a cavity. A stain, on the other hand, is a discolouration brought on by beverages or food.
How Long Does It Take A Cavity To Get Bad?
As with most illnesses, the longer you wait to treat a cavity, the worse it will become. Cavities can reach the nerve of your tooth in as little as 3-6 months.
Can A Cavity Go Away On Its Own?
Cavities do not vanish on their own. A cavity will continue to grow in size if you ignore it. A bad cavity could quickly lead to a second cavity. The decay of the tooth will widen and deepen, making you more prone to brittle teeth, which are more likely to crack and break.