Megan Johnson McCullough — How many of us have been told that if we don’t brush our teeth, we will get cavities?? We are told that too much candy will give us cavities. Well, a cavity is actually the result of tooth decay. The tooth has become damaged either on the inner layer (dentin) or on the surface (enamel). This decay is caused by food that stays in or on the teeth. These foods include candy, soda, fruit, cake, bread, cereal, or even milk. Children are very prone to cavities because their diet consists of these items, but anyone is susceptible to having cavities. Once this food stays on the tooth, it turns into bacteria. The mouth converts this bacteria to acid which interacts with saliva to then form plaque. Plaque is what lingers on the teeth and the acid in plaque creates holes. These holes are called cavities. Now it makes sense when the dentist tells you that you need to have your cavity “filled”.
When you have a regular checkup for cleaning, the dentist finds these cavities as he or she looks for any soft spots or on or in between your teeth. Sometimes you can even see them yourself as they appear as tiny holes on your teeth. You might even have a toothache and become sensitive to hot or cold foods.
Upon discovery, a dentist determines how severe the cavity actually is. The dentist will need to remove what decay has acquired using a drill. Then the dentist will fill that hole with either gold, porcelain, silver alloy, or composite resin. Although rare, some people have allergies to particular fillings. The American Dental Association (ADA) has debunked the myth about mercury-based fillings being unsafe. In more severe cases, crowns are used to cap or cover up a tooth that has been greatly decayed. There is not much tooth left at all. The damaged part is removed and then a “crown” is placed over the area using porcelain or gold. The most severe cases require a root canal. This means that the decay is so extreme that the root or the tooth is damaged or dead. The dentist will have to remove the injured nerve, tissue, and surrounding blood vessels. Then the root is filled with a sealing material. Some people might even need a crown on top of this sealed area.
Cavities don’t happen overnight, rather, it is the accumulation of this plaque that leads to decay. Older adults, not just children can have cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth is a lifelong commitment. When we age, our gums pull away from our teeth. This further exposes the teeth to plaque. Then those trigger foods can formulate plaque. Older adults often times have to undergo extensive dental care for neglecting their teeth during youth. Taking care of your oral health cannot be emphasized enough, especially with the associated costs for repair. Brush every single day, eat a clean diet, and don’t take for granted your pearly whites and smile.
Megan Johnson McCullough Every BODY’s Fit www.oceansidefitnesstraining.com