Two ways to prevent dental abscesses

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A dental abscess is an extremely painful type of infection which can lead to major health complications if it is not identified and treated promptly. As such, it's worth doing everything you can to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Here are two ways to do this.

Get cavities filled promptly

A cavity is a hole in a tooth. It is caused by bacterial plaque producing an erosive acid which gradually eats away at the tooth's outer layers, until a hole forms.

If during a routine check-up, your dentist informs you that you have a cavity, you might be tempted to postpone getting it filled, particularly if the affected tooth is not yet causing you any pain or if you want to avoid the discomfort associated with undergoing a dental procedure.

However, if you don't get the cavity filled promptly, you could end up with a tooth abscess. The reason for this is that a hole in your tooth can allow bacteria inside your mouth to seep into the root canal system, where the tooth's dental pulp is located.

This could lead to the pulp getting infected and an abscess forming in this section of the tooth. Because the pulp is comprised mainly of nerve endings, this can be excruciatingly painful. Furthermore, an abscess in this area can inflict irreversible damage on the living connective tissues that are found in the pulp.

If this should happen, you may need to have the tooth extracted. This can be quite a lengthy and uncomfortable procedure. You may also need to have additional dental appointments if you decide to replace the missing tooth with a denture.

Getting a filling when you are first informed of the cavity would be far simpler, and would spare you the expense and stress of having to undergo other, more complicated dental treatments.

Wear a mouthguard when participating in high-impact sports

If you regularly participate in any high-impact sports which could potentially result in dental injury, it is absolutely critical to wear a protective mouthguard.

The reason for this is as follows; if you are hit in the face with great force, you may sustain a gum laceration or a tooth fracture. If bacteria get into the wound in your gums or the opening created by the crack in your tooth, an abscess could develop in either one of these areas.

Wearing a mouthguard will absorb the impact if you are hit in the face during a match and thus minimise the amount of damage that is done to your teeth and gums.

However, it is worth noting that a donning a mouthguard before a match is not a guarantee that you will remain injury-free; if you are struck in the mouth repeatedly or with extreme force, you could still end up with a wound that could potentially lead to the formation of an abscess.

As such, it is important to be particularly thorough when cleaning your teeth before you put the mouthguard on. Brushing, flossing and rinsing with an anti-bacterial mouthwash just before you insert this device will significantly reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.

This, in turn, will reduce the chances of an infection developing if you do end up sustaining an oral injury during your match.