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How Do Cavities Form?

April 20, 2012 — by John Meola
Tags: Cavities Dental Fillings Dental Crowns

Ho Do Cavities Form?From a young age, we are taught to fear cavities. Though cavities are not ideal, they are a very common dental condition and are not something to be afraid of. Cavities are simply a result of tooth decay and are entirely preventable. Small children, teenagers, and adults of all ages can develop cavities. Fortunately, eating a healthy diet and engaging in good oral hygiene habits can prevent cavities from ever forming.  

What Is a Cavity and How Does It Form?

Cavities are permanently damaged areas in the tooth’s enamel and dentin that create small holes and crevices. These damaged areas are a result of tooth decay. The build-up of plaque on the teeth is the main cause of tooth decay. Plaque is formed when acids, food particles, saliva, and bacteria in the mouth combine. When plaque is not promptly removed from the teeth, it will slowly eat away at the tooth’s surface, causing decay. Over time, the acids within plaque will cause a cavity to form.

Preventing Cavities

Prevention is the best treatment of all, but sometimes a cavity cannot be prevented. Certain patients, even when engaging in daily and regular dental maintenance, are more prone to the formation of cavities. While this may be true for an unfortunate few, the majority of dental patients treated by our Boston cosmetic dentist can prevent cavities. Some small and easy dental habits that can help prevent cavities from forming are:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Replacing your toothbrush when it is worn or at least every three months
  • Flossing your teeth once a day to remove plaque that cannot be removed by brushing alone
  • Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar
  • Routine dental check-ups and professional dental cleanings every six months
  • Not using any tobacco products (tobacco products contribute to the development of tooth decay, gum disease, cancers, dry mouth, and bad breath)

What If I Have a Cavity?

Many of our patients are not aware that they have a cavity until undergoing a routine dental check-up. Tooth decay is often painless even when a cavity is present, making dental check-ups essential to protecting the health of your teeth. There are many options available in the treatment of cavities such as tooth-colored fillings and dental crowns. During your dental examination, one of our dentists will use x-rays to see the amount of decay present in the damaged tooth; this helps us to determine the most effective way to treat your cavity. For our dental patients with severely damaged teeth in Boston, dental crowns may be the best option in the treatment of cavities. We understand that undergoing dental treatment can cause some patients to experience anxiety. To ensure that our patients are relaxed and comfortable, we offer sedation dentistry.

To Learn More, Contact Dental Associates of New England Today

Making your smile healthy and beautiful is our top priority. To ensure every patient can afford the beautiful and healthy smile they deserve, we offer patient financing. To learn more about how cavities form and to schedule and examination, please contact Dental Associates of New England today.