What You Should Know About Cavities

February 26, 2016, Langley Dental Practice

What You Should Know About Cavities
What You Should Know About Cavities

While cavities are one of the most common dental issues, many patients don’t fully understand what cavities actually are or how they are formed. Cavities, also referred to as dental carries, are minor issues at first but can become more major issues if left untreated. To protect your oral health, it is important to take step to prevent cavities and to get a filling to prevent pain and further injury if a cavity does develop.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities are the eventual result of tooth decay. Cavities are holes in the tooth that are caused by this decay, which may affect the tooth enamel and may go even deeper and affect the dentin below the surface enamel. If the cavity goes deep enough into the tooth, it may affect the roots and cause pain.

How Do Cavities Form?

Cavities form when the bacteria in your mouth breaks down sugars and forms acids, then these acids cling to your tooth and eat away at the enamel. Removing sugars from the mouth is easier than removing the plague that forms after the sugar has been broken down, so it is best to brush often and swish with water between meals and snacks. Cavities have also been called contagious, because the bacteria that cause cavities can be transferred through saliva, increasing cavity risks.

What Home Care Methods Can Prevent Cavities?

Brushing and flossing are the best tried and true methods for preventing cavities, as these methods help to remove sugars and food debris from the teeth. Chewing sugar-free gum has shown to increase saliva production and wash away acids and bacteria. Swishing warm salt water around in the mouth regularly has also shown to prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth.

How Do Dentists Help Prevent Cavities?

Dentists remove built up plague from the teeth during cleanings, which helps to stop tooth decay that may have started before a cavity can form. Dentists sometimes apply sealants to the teeth to fill fissures and pits where food particles and sugars may get trapped and form cavities. Since the bacteria that works with sugars to form cavities can transfer from tooth to tooth, dentists also fill cavities to prevent more cavities from forming on the other teeth.

What exactly is a Filling?

A filling can help to stop a cavity from worsening. When a cavity has been identified, a dentist will drill the tooth to remove any enamel or dentin that has been rotted. The Orlando dentist will then fill the hole with a material that has been specially tested and approved for fillings. The material will harden and the dentist will shape it as needed to match up with your bite. Fillings can now be tooth colored to make them inconspicuous.


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