How Are Cavities Formed?

Cavities take time to form and start as tiny holes on the enamel of a tooth which compromises the hard surface.  When left untreated, cavities will work through tooth enamel and into the structure of the tooth. This process doesn’t occur overnight, and is something that can be prevented or lessened by adopting a good oral hygiene routine, healthy eating habits and regular dental visits.

Cavities

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The Cause of Cavities
You may have heard that a cause of cavities results from consuming sugary, acidic foods and beverages and not brushing your teeth afterwards.  This does contribute to cavities being formed but there’s more to the process of cavity formation than meets the eye.

Our teeth are covered by enamel – a naturally-occurring mineral that functions in protecting the teeth. When it comes in contact with the acids from the food you are eating, it deteriorates and weakens. When enamel becomes weaker, it is easy for bacteria thriving in your mouth to attack the foundations of your teeth.

When there’s an excessive growth of bacteria in your mouth, it leads to plaque and tartar build-up. This will eat through the enamel of your teeth. To sum it up – acids from foods and bacteria are what cause cavities to form.

It is important to note that not all cavities hurt or are seen. While the acids and bacteria in your mouth are attacking your teeth’s enamel, you won’t feel anything yet. That’s because enamel doesn’t have nerve fibers. But once it gets to the dentin where the nerve fibers are present, this is when you’ll start to feel twinges of pain.  When cavities form in-between teeth, especially in between molars, it is unlikely you will see them.  This is where the importance of dental check ups and x-rays come into play.  Your dentist has the tools to detect cavities that are not visible by the naked eye.

Cavities can not only be painful, they can also cause bad breath. Taking care of your teeth is imperative if you don’t want to be plagued by toothaches and a foul mouth.

Cavity Prevention
Brushing at least two times a day can help reduce the effects of acids and eliminate bad bacteria in your mouth. Flossing is also important as there can be leftover food and debris caught in between your teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach.

Minding what you are eating is also a great step to keeping your teeth and mouth healthy. Avoid eating highly acidic and sugary foods to help preserve your teeth’s enamel.

Regular trips to your dentist should not be forgotten as well. Your Burnaby Dentist can help you spot the first signs of cavities and treat the problem before it becomes worse. Some cavities appear small on the surface but are actually big inside. These types require immediate attention as they can be painful and can turn into requiring additional treatment if left untreated.

Every tooth that we have is important.  Having untreated cavities can have serious effects on our teeth, oral health and general well being.  Rest assured, your North Burnaby Dentist is educated and trained on providing the best knowledge to prevent and treat cavities.

If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health and how cavities are formed, please be sure to ask at your next dental visit.

 

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