How Cavities Form
By Steven Kail on September 30, 2013
Cavities are perhaps the most widespread and notorious threat in the world of oral hygiene. Worse yet, the beginnings of a cavity often go undetected, leaving patients unaware that a problem has developed between visits to the dentist. Undergoing cavities treatment with a dentist is an effective and permanent way to stop decay, but the best defense is to prevent them from ever occurring in the first place.
The restorative and cosmetic dentists at Premier Dental Center in Bells offer the following information to help you avoid cavities.
What Is a Cavity?
Also referred to as a dental cary or tooth decay, a cavity is actually a bacterial infection within a tooth. These bacteria decompose the tissue of our teeth, including the outside enamel and inside dentin. As tissue is broken down, a hole grows at the site of the infection. When left untreated, cavities can lead to tooth loss and damage of the root canal.
How Are Cavities Formed?
There are as many as 1,000 types of bacteria living in the human mouth. Most of the time, they are harmless or even helpful to us. Some bacteria, however, feed on the same sugary substances that are found in our foods: glucose, sucrose, and fructose, for example. Afterward, they secrete lactic acid, which eats away at the minerals of our teeth.
These potentially harmful bacteria tend to congregate and attach themselves to our teeth. This bacterial buildup is seen as a yellow substance that hardens over time, commonly known as plaque. When not removed, plaque eventually spreads and leads to the perpetual decay of a tooth.
How to Prevent Plaque Buildup
Dentists may sound like a broken record when they encourage proper hygiene and eating habits, but there really is no better way to protect your teeth. Learning what to eat, what not to eat, and the proper hygienic routine will keep patients from unnecessary tooth-filling appointments.
- Brush twice a day, every day: Brushing isn’t just a way to freshen your breath. It removes the plaque and bacteria that lead to tooth decay. It only takes a couple of days for plaque to harden, making brushes ineffective. Use a soft-bristled brush to prevent unintended erosion and a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Be vigilant!
- Floss once a day, every day: No matter how thorough you are, a toothbrush can’t reach every corner of your teeth. Flossing is a way to remove plaque between teeth, which is where cavities are more likely to form. For the best results, use a mouth rinse with fluoride to clean the greatest possible surface area of your teeth.
- Avoid sugary foods and drinks: If it tastes sweet, chances are it’s bad for your teeth. The consumption of sugary foods and beverages accelerates the formation of plaque and thus cavities. The more cookies and soda you consume, the more difficult it is to keep your hygiene in check.
- Make regular visits to the dentist: Even if you are vigilant in your brushing and flossing habits, there is still likely to be some degree of stubborn plaque. Visiting the dentist once or twice a year will ensure your teeth are as healthy as they can be. Neglecting a simple cleaning may end up being more costly and painful in the long run.
Schedule a Cleaning Today
Whether you need a regular cleaning or a more advanced procedure, such as fillings, implants, or dental crowns, we will provide the highest grade of customer service and care.
A simple visit to the dentist will help prevent new cavities from forming and detect any in the process. Our staff in Bells, Brownville, and Jackson would love to help you schedule an appointment at your convenience.
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