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What you eat, how well you take care of your teeth and many more choices are what can affect your teeth the most. Heredity can also play a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to decay. And while cavities might typically be more common among children, adults are also at risk. With proper dental hygiene and prevention, you can lower your risk of getting a cavity or tooth decay. If left untreated, cavities can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center, so seek care from your dentist at Kuffel Dental in Brookfield, WI immediately.

What are Cavities?

Cavities are holes or structural damage in the teeth. It is also another way to describe tooth decay. Though common in children, adults are at a high risk of getting cavities as well if proper dental hygiene is not followed.

The different types of cavities include the following:

  • Coronal Cavities – this is the most common type of cavity, occurring both in children and adults, and located on chewing surfaces or between the teeth.
  • Root Cavities – as you age, your gums recede, leaving parts of the tooth root exposed, which are easily prone to decay.
  • Recurrent Decay – decay can form around existing fillings and crowns because the areas may have a tendency to accumulate plaque.

Adults are especially at risk for cavities if they suffer from dry mouth, which is a condition created by the lack of saliva. Dry mouth may be caused by illness, medications, radiation therapy and chemo therapy, and may be either temporary or permanent, depending on the cause.

When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, they are eaten by the bacteria in plaque, producing acids that eat into the tooth. Over time, the tooth enamel begins to break down beneath the surface while the surface remains intact.   When enough of the surface enamel is eaten away, the surface collapses, forming a cavity.

Preventing Cavities

You can help prevent cavities from forming by following a number of tips:

  • Brush at least twice a day.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and below the gum line.
  • Maintain regular dental checkups to maintain proper dental hygiene as well

Preventative care from Kuffel Dental in Brookfield, WI can help stop problems from occurring and keep minor problems from becoming major ones. Additionally, remember to eat a well- balanced diet by limiting starchy or sugary foods. When you do eat sugary or starchy foods, try to eat them with your meal and not as a snack. This will minimize the number of times your teeth are exposed to acid.

Treating Cavities

If you get a cavity, treatment can help to prevent tooth damage from worsening. Treatment for a cavity may involve fillings, crowns or root canals. Dentists fill teeth by removing the decayed tooth material with a drill and replace it with material such as porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain and composite resin match the natural tooth appearance better and may be preferred for your front teeth.

Crowns or caps are used if the decay is extensive and there is limited tooth structure. A root canal is recommended if the nerve in a tooth dies from decay or injury. Only your dentist at Kuffel Dental can tell for sure if you have a cavity because cavities develop below the tooth’s surface where you can’t see them.