What are Cavities & How to Prevent Them

What are Cavities & How to Prevent Them

Nov 01, 2021

Cavities occur when acids in the mouth cause cavitation in the outer layer of the tooth structure, called the enamel. Cavities are caused by sugars that are consumed that get converted into acids in the mouth. These acids then slowly demineralize the enamel of the teeth and, over time, lead to decay that must be restored with dental fillings. Cavities can range from tiny to large, and if caught in their earliest stages, may not need to be treated. X-rays are a vital tool to check for cavities and check if small, previously diagnosed cavities, are growing and require repair. 

Foods that Cause Cavities 

Foods/drinks that cause cavities are anything containing sugars and acids. For instance, soda contains both sugars and acids and is therefore known to cause cavities. Candies that are particularly cavity-causing are sticky, chewy and gummy because they get caught in the biting surfaces of the teeth and thus increase the exposure time to the sugars. Anything that contains sugar, even natural sugars, can cause cavities. 

Prevention of Cavities 

Cavities are prevented by reducing or eliminating the foods that cause them, such as soda, candy, cookies and chocolate. It’s crucial to brush your teeth at least twice a day using toothpaste containing fluoride and floss at least once daily to keep your gums healthy and your teeth cavity-free. If you are cavity-prone, including a mouthwash containing fluoride into your daily routine is also a good idea. Drinking tap water is essential because fluoride is added to the water in many municipalities. 

How Cavities are Fixed 

Cavities often require dental fillings to be placed. The decayed or damaged portion of the tooth is removed so that only a healthy tooth structure is left. Next, filling material will be bonded in place of the decayed tooth structure and will be shaped and fitted to perfectly fit the tooth. If the cavity is extensive, a dental crown will sometimes need to be placed instead of a filling to give the tooth full coverage and more stability. 

If you believe you may have a cavity or have any questions about preventing them, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment

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