“Cavity” is another word for tooth decay. While it generally starts as a small pit in the surface of a tooth, it can grow over time, resulting in significant damage. Large cavities can also put your oral (and overall) health at risk. 

Anyone, regardless of age, can develop cavities. Over 90% of adults aged 20 to 64 have had at least one in their permanent teeth. Almost 60% of individuals aged 12 to 19 have had cavities in their permanent teeth, while 42% of children aged 2 to 11 have had them in their primary teeth. Las Vegas orthodontist Dr. Hansen is here to help protect your smile with these cavity prevention tips.  

Common Causes of Cavities

Cavities often result a combination of issues. One of the most well-known is poor oral hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on your teeth and erode your tooth enamel. Eventually, small pits begin to form, giving bacteria a place to hide. These holes are permanent and much more difficult to clean. Over time, they become larger.

Other factors that can contribute to the formation of cavities include:

  • Frequent snacking throughout the day.
  • A poor diet overall.
  • Drinking sugary or acidic beverages.
  • Genetics.

How to Prevent Cavities

Fortunately, there are several things that you can do to reduce your risk of developing cavities. The great news is that many of them are easy to follow:

  • Brush and floss regularly. You hear all the time that good oral hygiene practices are essential for cavity prevention. Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once. You can also brush between meals for extra assurance.
  • Drink water. Water doesn’t only hydrate you. It can wash away food particles and bacteria, keeping your mouth cleaner.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A well-balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can provide your teeth with the nutrients they need to stay strong.
  • Visit your dentist. Twice yearly dental cleanings and exams are crucial. Along with cavity prevention, your dentist can spot early warning signs, allowing you to take action before the damage worsens.
  • Correct dental alignment issues. Crooked teeth raise your risk of cavities by providing more places for bacteria and food particles to hide. Fixing the issue with braces or Invisalign makes oral care much easier.

Treatment Options for Cavities

One of the most common treatments for cavities is fillings. After removing the decay and cleaning the cavity, your dentist fills the hole with a special material that prevents new buildup. Treatment is typically quick and simple. For more significant cavities, however, a root canal may be necessary. With this treatment, your dentist treats the infection inside and removes the root of the tooth. Then they place a crown on top. 

Maintain Your Healthy, Happy Smile

Cavity prevention is essential for protecting the health of your teeth, the appearance of your smile, and your overall quality of life. In addition to your at-home oral care, the assistance of an experienced dentist can also go a long way.If you need misaligned teeth corrected, Dr. Hansen of Hansen Orthodontics is here for you. Straighter teeth are easier to care for, which can help reduce your risk of cavities and other complications. For an appointment with a top Las Vegas orthodontist, contact Hansen Orthodontics today.