All About Cavities

Learning about the development process of cavities will help you have a complete understanding of how to best prevent them, so you can keep your healthy, bright smile. This article will explain the stages of a cavity to you and provide you with tips for keeping them from developing.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is a hole in your tooth. It will begin as a small hole in the outer layer, known as the enamel. At this point, the cavity is easily treatable with a composite filling material. If ignored, the cavity will go deeper into your tooth, piercing through the dentin, the pulp and eventually the root. The deeper the cavity goes, the higher the chances will be that you will feel pain and the more invasive the treatment will be.

What causes a cavity to develop?

When bacteria is allowed to set on the tooth for too long, it can cause damage to the enamel. This damage can cause the erosion that becomes a cavity. Healthy teeth are susceptible to cavities, but a tooth that already has weakened areas, chips, cracks or breaks will be even more susceptible because the enamel is already compromised. This is why it is so important for you to have cosmetic dental issues taken care of as soon as you are aware of them so they don't turn into a bigger problem.

How can you prevent the development of cavities?

The best way to go about preventing the development of cavities is to limit the amount of bacteria that comes in contact with your teeth, and to remove bacteria as quickly as possible. Aside from that, you also want to keep your teeth strong and healthy, so they don't have weak areas that will be more vulnerable.

Eating foods that have a high sugar content increase your chances for developing cavities. Sugary foods will put a sticky film on your teeth that traps bacteria against their surfaces. Try to avoid sugary foods altogether and brush your teeth after you do eat them. Also, drink water with your meals to help wash the bacteria off your teeth.

Eat a well-balanced diet and use a fluoridated mouth wash to help strengthen your teeth. Always wear a protective mouth guard when you are performing any activities that put your teeth at risk of injury. Floss to remove hidden food from the spaces between your teeth.  

By following the advice in this article, you will be able to decrease your chances of developing cavities. Make sure to go in for your annual dental exams, so any potential problems can be found and treated promptly. For more information about cavities and how to prevent them, talk to a dentist like those at the Associates For Family Dentistry.