Tooth decay is not something that anyone should take lightly. Not only can poor oral health age you prematurely, but it can also lead to gum disease and other life threatening illnesses. With that being said, the development of cavities is actually a rather prolonged process and it can sometimes take up to five years for early decay to develop into a full blown cavity depending on diet and how you take care of your teeth. You may be wondering if you actually need to get fillings or not, and it ultimately boils down to a couple of key factors.

Detect Early and Change Habits

There have been a number of advancements in dental technology that allows for dentists to detect tooth decay at early stages. Tooth decay is normally caused by two different factors. It could be from mineral leaching due to diet, such as highly acidic foods, stripping away the enamel of your teeth. Plaque forming bacteria eating away at the enamel could also be a culprit. It could even be a combination of the two.

Before and after

As previously mentioned, it can take years for cavities to develop, and if tooth decay is detected early then it is likely that the process can actually be reversed. In fact, a recent study showed that the need to fill cavities could be reduced by 35-50% using preventive care.

Fluoride treatment, which can help reintroduce important minerals back into the enamel is key. Changing your diet, such as avoiding acidic and sugary foods and drink, may also be necessary. Practicing proper oral hygiene at home is key. You should be brushing twice per day using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush, and flossing and rinsing your mouth at least once per day.

Visit Your Dentist

Even if your teeth are in seemingly great shape, you should be regularly visiting your dentist. This is especially true if you have children or are pregnant. A dentist is integral for early detection and can often see things that you do not notice by simply looking in a mirror. Tooth decay can be prevented if you stay on top of it, so if you are in need of a dentist and live near Columbia, South Carolina, please consider visiting Dr. Paul Hahn or Dr. Adam Hahn at Smile Columbia Dentistry. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment please give us a call at (803) 781-9090  today.