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Cavities/Tooth decay

Overview

The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
1.Toothache, spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
2.Tooth sensitivity
Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
3.Visible holes or pits in your teeth
4.Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
5.Pain when you bite down

Causes

Cavities are caused by tooth decay — a process that occurs over time for the reasons-
1.Back teeth (molars and premolars). These teeth have lots of grooves, pits, and multiple roots that can collect food particles. It is difficult to keep them clean. Dental plaque that stays on your teeth can harden under or above your gum line into tartar (calculus). Tartar makes plaque more difficult to remove and creates a shield for bacteria. The acids in plaque remove minerals in your tooth’s hard, outer enamel. This erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel causing tooth decay.
2. Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time — such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy and mints, dry cereal, and chips — are more likely to cause decay than foods that are easily washed away by saliva.
3. When babies are given bedtime bottles filled with milk, formula, juice or other sugar-containing liquids, these beverages remain on their teeth for hours while they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria.
4. If you don’t clean your teeth soon after eating and drinking, plaque forms quickly and the first stages of decay can begin.
5. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. Insufficient fluoride in toothpaste/water causes cavities.
6.saliva of mouth helps prevent tooth decay by washing away food and plaque from your teeth. A dry mouth having less saliva is responsible for tooth decay.
7. Sugar attracts harmful bacteria that destroy the tooth’s enamel, which can cause a cavity in the affected tooth.

Prevention

1. Brush with fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking
2.Brush after every food or at least twice a day
3. Do not rush when you brush. Brush slowly and touching every part of the teeth
4. Use a mouth rinse with fluoride before sleep
5. Cut down on sugar
6. Visit your dentist regularly
Extracted from Mayo clinic

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