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Dentists' Office of The Hudson Valley
1733 Ulster Avenue, Lake Katrine, NY 12449

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Ways to Prevent Cavities

Do you hate visiting the dentist and hearing you have a cavity? No one likes to hear they need a filling, but most cavities can be avoided. A cavity is a hole in the tooth created by acids that form from fermented starches and sugars. Acid will break down your tooth’s enamel and continue to erode the next two layers of the tooth if a dentist does not remove the decay and treat the cavity.

If you keep your teeth clean and limit your starch and sugar, you will reduce your risk of developing cavities. If you find an affordable dentist in Lake Katrine, he or she can perform routine exams and catch cavities early, when they are easy to treat. You can also discover if your oral hygiene is ensuring plaque, which harbors bacteria, isn’t staying on your teeth too long, allowing acids to form.

Preventing Cavities is Simple

You can reduce or eliminate cavities by:

1. Brushing Frequently

At a minimum, you should brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to clean everywhere, including the front, back and chewing surfaces of teeth. Use a soft toothbrush as it will get in nooks and crannies easier. Replace your toothbrush every four months or whenever the bristles appear frayed so it can do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

2. Floss Once a Day

Brushing alone is not enough to get your teeth really clean. When you don’t floss, you miss removing plaque and food particles from 30 percent of the surfaces of your teeth. Only three out of 10 adults floss every day and nearly 40 percent only floss when they remember or have the time. It’s no wonder most adults who get cavities get them between their teeth.

3. Get a Bi-annual Routine Dental Exam

Have a routine dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning every six months. This allows your dentist to determine if you have any risk factors that make it more likely you will develop cavities. He or she can also see if there are any areas of your teeth where your oral hygiene can use some help.

4. Ask Your Dentist About Sealants

If you have a moderate to high risk for cavities, you may benefit from dental sealants. Sealants are a thin coating your dentist can apply to the chewing surface of your premolars and molars. The chewing surface of these teeth is uneven, pitted and has fissures, so they can easily trap plaque. Sealants make the top of the teeth smooth and provide a barrier over the enamel. They offer cavity prevention benefits for up to a decade.

5. Eat a Diet Designed to Prevent Cavities

When you consume drink and eat starchy or sugary foods and drinks, you’re feeding the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria takes these foods and drinks, the bacteria creates acids that erode tooth enamel. If you sip on a sugary soda or energy drink all day, the acid will repeatedly attack your tooth enamel. If you want something to sip on all day, drink tap water that is fluoridated or back or green tea without sugar.

Foods that help prevent cavities include low-fat dairy products that supply calcium which can help rebuild tooth enamel. High fiber fruits and vegetables are also good for preventing cavities. Crunchy fruits and vegetables, like raw celery and apples, act as natural cleansers for your teeth.

If you decide to have a sugary treat, brush afterward. If you can’t brush, rinse your mouth well with water or chew a piece of sugarless gum. When you have a starchy or sticky snack, like potato chips or taffy, floss before rinsing or brushing, as these foods can easily get stuck between your teeth.

Treatments for Cavities

Your dentist will determine how deep the decay has reached when determining the best treatment to restore your tooth.

Dental Fillings

Fillings are the most common treatment dentists use to treat cavities. A dentist will remove any decay and then fill the drilled area with a material that can restore the tooth structure. He or she will numb the tooth first so you don’t feel any pain. Your dentist may recommend a strong material, like amalgam (metal), to fill a molar in your back teeth that are under stress from chewing. There is composite resin, which is an off white, that your dentist can recommend for fillings in front teeth.

Dental Crowns

When your dentist fills a tooth with a large cavity, he or she may have to remove too much of the tooth for a filling to restore the tooth’s full strength. In cases like these, your dentist will recommend a crown to go over the tooth. The crown, which is typically made from porcelain or porcelain over metal, will keep the tooth from cracking under stress. Crowns are tailor made to resemble your other teeth in size, shape and color.

Root Canals

If tooth decay reaches the innermost layer of your tooth, the pulp, you will find it exceedingly painful. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels. Your dentist in Lake Katrine will have to remove the pulp, performing a root canal procedure. He or she will then fill the tooth and cap it off with a crown to restore it. While they might have a bad name, root canals do not hurt. The procedure is the only way to save the tooth at this point.

Tooth decay is a major problem in the US and throughout the world. Researchers are always looking for new ways to treat cavities besides traditional fillings. In the US and the UK, scientists are working on creating dental fillings that stimulate stem cells in the teeth that can regrow dentin. This could practically eliminate the need for root canals.

Despite this research, the best cavity treatment is prevention. We know enough about how to prevent decay and reduce or eliminate the risk factors that anyone can take charge of their own oral health. All they will need is education and the help of an affordable dentist in Lake Katrine to practically eliminate cavities from their life.

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1733 Ulster Avenue, Lake Katrine, NY 12449

(845) 512-1230