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Watch for these Cavity Symptoms

Most of us have seen a dentist and had a cavity repaired.  What is a cavity? A cavity is an opening in the hard protective layer of your tooth (the enamel).  This defect begins when food becomes trapped between your teeth allowing plaque to form, a clear sticky film that coats your teeth. Bacteria grow in the plaque producing an acid that eats away at your tooth enamel creating a cavity.

What causes a cavity?

So you have a cavity.  What caused it? There are many possibilities.

  • Eating sugary, sticky foods and beverages that become trapped between your teeth (candy, honey, dried fruit, cake, soda, etc.)
  • Inadequate brushing – not brushing long, often and thoroughly enough
  • Frequent snacking – provides more time and fuel for the bacteria to create acid and attack your teeth
  • Receding gums – exposes the roots of your teeth making them vulnerable to decay
  • Lack of fluoride – a naturally occurring mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse early tooth damage
  • Worn dental devices – poorly fitting devices trap food allowing decay to begin beneath them
  • Dry mouth – a lack of saliva to wash away food and plaque and counter the acid produced by bacteria
  • Heartburn – acid reflux can cause stomach acid to flow into your mouth wearing away the enamel of your teeth

Cavity Symptoms

How do I know if I have a cavity?The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their severity and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As decay progresses, the symptoms become obvious.If you have a toothache or experience pain when eating or drinking sweet, sticky, acidic, hot or cold foods and beverages, you may have a cavity.   A chipped tooth or a visible hole is a sign of tooth decay. Swollen or bleeding gums may also be evidence of decay. Brown, Black or white staining on the surface of a tooth may be a sign that a cavity has developed. If you’re dealing with any of these symptoms, see your dentist.  

How can I prevent cavities?

The idea of acid eating a hole in your tooth may sound disturbing!  There are many simple things that you can do to help reduce the possibility of developing a cavity.

  • Eat healthy – avoid sugary foods and drinks
  • Drink water and chew sugar free gum to help wash away food particles
  • Brush regularly and thoroughly using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Use a  fluoride mouthwash  
  • Change your toothbrush every three months as new bristles remove plaque more efficiently
  • Floss daily to remove food and plaque from between your teeth
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and cleaning
  • Ask your dentist about sealants – a plastic material that is painted on vulnerable teeth to act as a barrier and protect the tooth surface from bacteria and acid

If you experience any of the symptoms associated with a cavity, see your dentist.  She can help repair damage and advise you on ways to reduce the possibility of future tooth decay. To avoid developing a cavity, schedule regular cleanings and dental exams.

If you think you have a cavity or need advice on how to avoid tooth decay call Centennial Smiles at (587) 317‑7959.

New Patients: (587) 317‑7959
Existing Patients: (587) 353‑5060
Email: info@centennialsmiles.ca

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