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Cavity Prevention Advice for Everyone

Cavities can damage the structural integrity of your teeth and can affect your appearance in a negative way. You can improve the health of your teeth and gums with good dental hygiene at home and regular visits to your local dentist in Northern Virginia. By working with a qualified dentist, you can spot issues with your teeth and gums early to ensure the fastest treatment and to achieve more positive outcomes for you and your family members.

How You Can Prevent Cavities

Cavities are caused when plaque and bacteria attack the enamel that covers your teeth. This enamel is hard and serves as a protective layer for the soft tissues inside your teeth. Plaque is an acidic substance that is formed when bacteria eat the food particles left inside your mouth. The acids in this material can attack enamel. Over time, plaque can even develop into tartar, which can cause serious irritation of your gums and can lead to gum disease. You can take a number of steps that can reduce your risk of cavities and tooth decay to a significant degree. Here are some proven methods for preventing cavities.

Brushing and Flossing Your Teeth Every Day

Most dental experts recommend flossing your teeth once or twice daily and brushing after every meal. If you cannot easily brush your teeth after each time you eat, rinsing with mouthwash or water can provide some protection for your teeth. Taking time to brush each morning and evening is essential, however, to promote the healthiest possible gums and teeth for you and every other member of your family.

Flossing is important because it allows you to remove food debris and plaque deposits from areas that are difficult or impossible to reach with your toothbrush. You can choose from a few different types of flossing devices, including individual flossing picks, water-powered flossing tools and traditional waxed and unwaxed floss. The type of floss you use is less important than making a habit of using floss every day.

Eating Healthier Foods

Another key component in preventing cavities is improving your diet to include tooth-friendly foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help strengthen teeth and gums. Milk and dairy products are good options for increasing calcium intake for those who can tolerate lactose well. Drinking plenty of water is also essential to improve your overall health and the condition of your teeth and gums.

Rinsing Your Mouth

Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride or that fights plaque is a good addition to your dental hygiene program. If you cannot brush or floss after every meal, rinsing your mouth with water or with one of these mouthwash formulations can be a good intermediate step in protecting your teeth from damage caused by plaque and tooth decay.

Visiting Your Local Dentist

Choosing a dentist in Northern Virginia to manage your dental care is a good way to prevent most cavities. Your dentist can provide you with some important services:

  • Regular examinations are essential to the health of your teeth and gums. By spotting problems early on, you can enjoy better dental health for yourself and your family members.
  • Teeth cleaning services can remove plaque and tartar buildup from all areas of your teeth and mouth. This reduces your risk of cavities while providing some important protection against gum disease.
  • Your dentist may also recommend sealants that can prevent food particles, plaque and tartar from occurring in the spaces between your teeth. A dental sealant treatment is an ideal way to protect your teeth for many years into the future.
  • Fluoride treatments are especially important for people in areas without fluoridated water. Your dentist can apply these treatments to reduce the risk of cavities and to promote the healthiest teeth for patients of all ages.

Working with an affordable dentist in Northern Virginia can help you to protect your teeth and to enjoy improved dental health now and in the future.

Treatment Options for Cavities and Tooth Decay

Depending on the severity of the damage to your teeth, your dentist may recommend a few different treatment options that can help you to look your best and that will reduce the risk of further damage to your teeth.

Fillings

Dental fillings are available in a range of materials. Gold and tooth-colored composite fillings are usually among the most expensive, while amalgam fillings are more affordable. Your dentist will clean out the decayed and damaged portion of your tooth before applying these materials to fill in and seal the hole. This will provide structural support for your tooth when biting and chewing.

Crowns

Dental crowns are used as a cap to fit over damaged teeth with large fillings. These dental appliances serve as a replacement or reinforcement of your weakened tooth enamel, which can allow you to bite and chew with greater confidence. Crowns are available in metal alloys or gold. The material you choose will have an impact on the cost you will pay for these dental appliances.

Root Canals

If infection and decay have spread to the inside of your teeth, you may require root canal procedures to remove the nerve endings and the infected tissue and to replace it with an inert, rubbery substance called gutta-percha. This material is designed to support the interior spaces of the tooth and to prevent future infections. After a root canal, your tooth will nearly always require a crown to protect the outer shell and to provide added stability when biting or chewing.

Visiting your local dentist in Northern Virginia can help you and your family to find practical ways to protect your teeth against cavities. Your dentist is your local resource for guidance and support in keeping your teeth healthy and your smiles brilliant to help you make a positive impression on those you meet now and in the future.

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