You only have one set of adult teeth, and they need to last until you are 80, 90, or beyond. The actions you take towards your teeth today will either benefit you or harm you in the future. Of course, good dental care starts with seeing a dentist regularly. You should go in for cleanings and checkups, and any other time you think something might be amiss with your teeth. Education is important when it comes to any aspect of your health, so start reading the articles on this website to educate yourself about dentists and dental care. We promise that when you're 80 and you still have your teeth, you won't regret the time spent.
Once a cavity has reached a certain size and depth, it can't be stopped—and you'll need to see your dentist in order to have it filled. You've probably experienced a cavity before and had the decayed portion of the tooth drilled away before the cavity is patched with a tooth-colored composite resin. But when a cavity is in its very early stages—its absolute infancy—there are other dental care services that can stop it from developing further, if not quite reversing it.
Corrosion of Dental Enamel
Cavities start on dental enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. The naturally-occurring oral bacteria in your mouth react to the foods and drinks you consume (particularly those high in sugar and starch). This reaction causes the bacteria to produce an acidic compound, which then begins to corrode your dental enamel—and this is basically how a cavity forms.
Below Your Dental Enamel
Once tooth decay has corroded through your dental enamel, it reaches the underlying dentin. This substance is what forms most of a tooth's structure, and the visible part of a tooth is actually dentin covered by enamel. When tooth decay has reached your dentin, you're likely to need a filling. But when a cavity is noticed when it's still isolated to your dental enamel, intensive (although non-invasive) measures can be used to stop it.
An Intensive Fluoride Treatment
You're still going to need to visit your dentist. They'll perform a fluoride treatment on your teeth, concentrating on the tooth where the cavity is forming. You've probably had a treatment like this before, and you'll have to hold the fluoride solution in your mouth for a brief period before you can spit it out. Depending on your dentist's assessment of the situation, you might need to have additional fluoride treatments spread out over several visits.
Fluoride Treatment at Home
You'll need to continue your preventive efforts at home in the coming weeks or months. Your dentist will recommend a specific toothpaste, and this will be an over-the-counter product that contains the required concentration of fluoride for your needs. Such kinds of toothpaste are often marketed as having a remineralizing action. After rinsing and spitting, you may wish to brush your teeth again, without rinsing. This leaves a deposit of fluoride on your teeth overnight, which can help your goal of preventing your cavity from deepening.
A cavity in its very early stages can often be stopped with quick, strategic application of fluoride—both at your dentist's clinic and at home. Your dentist will inspect the site during your regular checkups, and if it should continue to develop, you may still eventually need a filling.
For more information, contact a dental care service in your area such as Creative Smiles.