A Cavity is (Almost) Normal
There are very few people who have never experienced at least one cavity in their lifetime. However, if you are one of the lucky ones who make it into adulthood without so much as a cavity, congratulations! But you’re not out of the woods yet. It is still likely to happen one day. When it does, don’t get down on yourself over that one time you forgot to brush. Instead, recognize that you were a rare case, and treat cavities as a sign that it’s time to change your oral care habits. When we see patients with no history and good habits develop cavities, we don’t simply fill it and forget it. Nor do we put the patient down for slacking on their brushing and flossing. We do, however, investigate the cause, to ensure that there isn’t some other problem developing.
Sometimes Life Gets in the Way
Throughout your life, your body changes, and your teeth and gums are not immune to the differences. In some cases, the changes are chemical or hormonal, and in others are related to your lifestyle. Who hasn’t experienced a period of time when the stress of life simply piled up so much that the simple tasks of brushing and flossing seemed like a mountain to climb. For similar reasons maybe your eating habits slipped and you fell into a pattern of consuming more sugary foods or the double whammy of sugary carbonated beverages. Maybe you got braces that, at the best of times, make brushing effectively more of a challenge.
Blame it on Hormones
Lifestyle reasons aside, events like pregnancy or illness often take their toll on your teeth and gums. Pregnant women experience all kinds of changes in their bodies during gestation and bleeding gums and tooth sensitivity are common complaints. We often see patients in our practice, with no negative history suddenly develop gingivitis and cavities during or soon after pregnancy. We also see patients who are being treated for an illness and the medication begins to negatively affect their oral health.
When A Cavity is More Than Just a Cavity
The link between oral health and overall health is well established. We know that the mouth can be both the cause of illness (gum disease leading to vascular disease), and a signal that illness exists elsewhere in the body. Symptoms of medical conditions such as osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases show up in the mouth (bone loss and infections). So, while you may have a great track record of excellent oral health, a sudden cavity could actually be an early warning sign.
If you get a cavity it’s not the end of the world. No one except the dentist and hygienist need ever know it’s there. It used to be that mercury amalgam fillings were used to fill cavities, leaving a shining reminder of your dental indiscretion. But now, we have better materials that are safer and that don’t come with the risk of mercury exposure. Today, we fill cavities with a material that matches the colour of your tooth so that it is virtually invisible.
Wake Up and Get back to Basics
We don’t truly believe that one little cavity is a source of shame for anyone, nor should it be. So, if you have been fortunate enough not to have a cavity until later in life, good for you! But take it as a wakeup call that you may now need to step up your oral care to do better than you have in the past, or get back into your previous good habits. Continue to get regular checkups from a dentist that understands the connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body. And finally, investigate the cause of your cavity with your dentist to ensure that there are no other underlying issues that could cause further decay or prevent you from staying healthy in the future.
Contact us for your Oakville dentistry and Cavity needs
Dr. Agatha Bis and her team of dental professionals provide general and cosmetic dentistry at their Oakville dental clinic. Call Dr. Agatha Bis at 905-338-6684 or fill out the form below and book an appointment for your next dental checkup. Dr. Bis and her team believe that good oral care and a healthy smile are directly related to overall health and wellness.