What is a Cavity?
No matter how well you take care of your teeth, you may still be at a risk of forming cavities. This is because of the bacteria (plaque) that forms in your mouth. The plaque breaks down the sugar in your mouth and forms an acid. This acid causes your tooth enamel (the hard-protective layer of the tooth) to weaken and break down. Once this enamel breaks down you can then develop holes (cavities) in your tooth.
If cavities develop, this may be a sign of poor oral hygiene or a poor diet. Your mouth contains a lot of different bacteria. Some of these bacterial use carbohydrates to produce acid. Tooth decay occurs when carbohydrates (especially sugars) become trapped in your teeth. The more sugary the food you consume, the more acid that can be produced. Hence, more chances of tooth decay.
Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly allows the bacteria to stick to the surface of the teeth. This is why proper daily hygiene is important. By properly cleaning all surfaces of your teeth, the plaque is not allowed to develop and therefor cannot produce the harmful acid.
Possible signs that a cavity is forming
There are many measures you can take to prevent cavities and tooth decay. It all starts with a good daily and consistent oral hygiene routine. Don’t rush your brush. Proper brushing should take at least 2 minutes. An electric toothbrush with soft bristles can help reach hidden areas around teeth and remote corners of your mouth. But since no toothbrush can reach all surfaces of a tooth, flossing is just as important as brushing. Mouth rinses, tongue scrapers, tooth pics and rubber points can also help keep things clean.
Eating healthy foods is also key to avoiding dental cavities. Remember that the bacteria cannot produce the harmful acid with out carbohydrates (especially sugars). With todays misleading advertisements and nutritional labels, it is may be challenging to know what is actually healthy and what is not. Eating a balanced diet consisting of unprocessed foods such as meat, fish, vegetables and fruits is a safe bet.
Cavities can be treated easily if caught early. The decaying part of the tooth is removed, and the hole is filled with dental materials such as resins, amalgam, glass ionomers or porcelain. This will restore the tooth’s shape and function while eliminating the hole.
The information provided is for general information purposes only and not intended to replace professional care. Please consult your physician or dentist for advice and diagnoses so you can be properly treated for your specific situation.