When plaque is not removed by a consistent oral care routine of daily brushing and flossing, your teeth are more likely to develop cavities. Visit a dentist or dental hygienist regularly so he or she can check your teeth for any problems including cavities or gum disease symptoms.
Not all cavities are the same, and your dentist can tell you what type you have after examining your teeth with dental instruments. He or she may also use x-rays to confirm areas of decay.
The three types of cavities are:
- Root decay. This type of decay is the most common type among older adults who are more likely to have receding gums. It occurs on the surface of the roots of the teeth.
- Pit and fissure decay. This type of decay occurs on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It can be prevented with proper tooth brushing; however if you’re inconsistent in your oral hygiene, this type of decay can quickly become severe.
- Smooth-surface decay. This type of decay occurs on the outside flat surface of the teeth when bacteria is not removed and plaque builds up. It’s the least serious kind and may be treatable with fluoride. It’s also helpful to know that this type of decay may be positively impacted by regular and proper dental flossing.
If you think you’re developing cavities, don’t avoid cleaning your teeth. Even if you experience painful flossing and brushing, it’s important not to avoid the sensitive areas. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and soft floss with warm water.