You are brushing your teeth one day and catch the flicker of a dark spot on one of your teeth. Upon further inspection, you determine it is indeed a cavity. Cavities are spots of decay that are caused by bacterial accumulation in certain areas of your teeth that eats away at the tooth enamel. Cavities aren't always painful, and sometimes they can go for months unnoticed.
When you spot a cavity, the first thing you need to do is get to the dentist, but what happens if you can't get to the dentist right away? There are a few things you can do to prevent the cavity from getting bigger until you do get in to get it fixed.
Get extremely serious about your dental hygiene.
The cavity you have likely showed up because you've not been too attentive to brushing, flossing, and regular professional cleanings at your dentist. Therefore, if you are not vigilant about dental hygiene after you spot a cavity, it could get worse, and it could do so quickly. Until you can get the cavity repaired, make sure you are brushing and flossing after meals, using a good mouthwash, and paying careful attention to keeping the area clean.
Get yourself some sugarless gum.
People often assume any chewing gum is bad for your teeth, but sugarless gum is actually something that can be good for your teeth. Sugarless gum is beneficial because:
- It increases saliva production to wash away food particles
- It contains xylitol to neutralize acid residue on your teeth
- It helps slough away stubborn food particles between brushing and flossing
If you've never been much of a gum chewer, now that you have a cavity and you do not want it to grow, you should consider becoming one because it very well could slow progression of the cavity.
Get some medicated prescription mouthwash.
If you can't afford to get to the dentist, maybe you can afford to get some prescription mouthwash, which your dentist will probably prescribe without an actual appointment. Prescription mouthwash has antibacterial agents in it so that it eliminates that decay-causing bacteria from your mouth. If you have gums and soft tissue that are swollen because of bacteria, this mouthwash will also help soothe the irritation. Problems with the soft tissue surrounding your teeth can actually make even a small area of decay worse than usual because the temperature of the tissue can elevate and encourage bacterial growth.
For additional advice, contact a dentist, like Dr. Peggy Alvarez-Penabad.