You know the importance of brushing your teeth and having good oral hygiene to avoid cavities. But did you know that cavities aren't just in your teeth?
Yes, even when you take care of your enamel, you can still end up with a cavity between your teeth. This has a technical term called an interproximal cavity. It forms like other cavities: when the enamel is worn away and bacteria are able to get into the tooth.
When this happens with your permanent teeth, it can cause tooth pain that you don't want to have to deal with, as well as other problems when the cavity penetrates into the bloodstream.
Preventive dentistry is the best way to make sure you don't end up with interproximal cavities and tooth decay. These tips will teach you how to recognize if you have the signs of a cavity in your teeth and how to prevent cavities in general.
Keep in mind that if you're concerned that you may have a cavity, you should contact your dentist early. The sooner the problem is taken care of, the less likely you'll need more serious fixes like a dental crown or root canal treatment.
You've been taught to brush your teeth since childhood to avoid cavities. But what exactly is this dental concern, anyway? And do you really need to floss?
A cavity is an easily preventable dental condition in which the hard surface of your teeth (the enamel) ends up with a tiny hole in it. This permanent damage is caused when the bacteria stick to the tooth.
As you engage in frequent snacking, eat sugary foods or drink sugary drinks, and don't effectively clean right after, the food particles form dental plaque.
As plaque, bacteria sticks to the enamel and decays the tooth. If you don't remove decay fast, it turns into a hole that requires a large filling to fix it. However, if it's caught early, the enamel could be recalcified with fluoride gel.
The best way to prevent interproximal cavities and other cavity types, according to the American Dental Association, is to brush at least twice a day.
Use toothpaste with fluoride to get rid of the bacteria, and follow with flossing and a mouth rinse. Fluoride is a commonly added ingredient to most over-the-counter tooth products.
If you notice tooth sensitivity, you could be using the wrong brush. Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush unless your dentist recommends otherwise. Brush your teeth in a circular pattern, and include your gums to prevent gum disease.
Flossing is important since interproximal cavities form between the teeth, and the floss and mouthwash get up in those hard-to-reach places.
Avoid sugary snacks and drinks, quit habits like using tobacco, and head to your dentist during office hours for preventative cleanings. If you need professional help quitting bad habits, your primary doctor can provide medical advice.
If you're concerned that something isn't quite right, but you're not sure what's going on with your teeth, look for these symptoms to guide you:
So how can you avoid interproximal cavities between two teeth or cavities in general? The best thing to do is to seek out preventative care at least every six months, according to the American Dental Association.
Professional cleanings and dental exams help catch problems early, before cavities can form. And if you do need a filling, the dentist can use a variety of metal alloys to solve minor issues.
Interproximal cavities form when bacteria is ignored and allowed to run rampant. Head to your dentist for routine visits, and call for an urgent appointment if you think you may have an interproximal cavity or any other dental issues.