We know that tooth decay is related to the presence of cavities. What many of us don’t understand is what causes cavities. Understanding this is important in order for us to prevent the problem from arising and avoiding tooth loss, pain and discomfort. The development of cavities begins with the presence of bacteria which damages the hard surface of the teeth. If left untreated, this will spread into the inside layers of the teeth. But this pretty much is preventable with proper oral hygiene and regular dental visits.
Commons Causes of Cavities
Lack of oral hygiene is the most common cause of cavity build-up. If you don’t floss or brush your teeth as often as you should, there’s a high chance that you will develop tooth decay. Other factors or causes of cavities are the following:
- Certain drinks and foods can cause cavities. The most common promoters of cavities are starchy foods and sugar drinks and foods. They include candies, raisins, and others. Eating snacks frequently also lead to tooth decay if you don’t brush your teeth properly, especially if the foods you eat contain a lot of sugar.
- Drinking bottled water can also lead to cavities. This is because most tap water contains fluoride, which helps promote healthier teeth, while bottled water doesn’t.
- Receding gums can also promote cavity build-up. If you have receding gums, there is high chance of plaque formation near the roots of the teeth. The roots are susceptible to decay because they don’t have enamel to protect them.
So how does a cavity lead to tooth decay?
It starts with the plaque formation. The primary cause of this formation is sugar. The sugar attaches to the teeth and the surrounding area after you consume certain drinks and foods. If you don’t clean off the sugar through regular brushing and flossing, it will stay in the teeth and bacteria will start thriving in it, producing acids. The acid, when combined with the bacteria, saliva and food particles, forms plaque.
The plaque covers the surface of the teeth. This will wear away the enamel, which is the hard outer surface of the teeth. The enamel serves as the teeth’s protector. The enamel will have tiny openings due to the plaque presence. This is the first stage of cavities. The next stage starts when the bacteria and plaque attack the dentin, which is the softer layer of the teeth.
If still left undetected and untreated, the cavities will continue to develop. The destruction will now spread down to the inner material of the teeth. This will irritate the pulp and will even affect the bone that supports it. This is the last stage of decay. At this point, you will experience pain, toothache and sensitivity. If still left untreated, it will lead to tooth abscess.
The best way to fight off cavities is prevention. This is pretty simple. All you have to do is to be consistent in your oral care and always be diligent in taking care of your teeth and gums. Flossing and brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day are helpful. Be mindful of what you eat and always rinse your mouth thoroughly after a meal or snack.
If you want extra protection from cavities, eat healthily. There are foods that are teeth-friendly, including fresh fruits, dairy products and vegetables. Lessen your consumption of sweetened drinks and avoid frequent snacking, especially if the food you eat contains lots of sugar. Doing these will prevent cavities and tooth decay.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Cavity
Cavities show no symptoms on the onset. So the best way to do is to regularly go to the dentist for proper check-up and cleaning. Twice a year is enough. This will definitely help you detect any dental problem as early as possible. If you experience tooth pain or any symptom, make sure that you visit the dentist soon. Don’t wait for the problem to get worse.
Always follow your dentist’s advice. Eat healthy and observe proper oral hygiene and care.
Don’t wait for the cavities to cause problems like tooth decay. Come to East Valley Dental to make sure that the problem does not w2orsen. We will help prevent cavity build-up and restore the overall health of your teeth.