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Understanding How Cavities Form

Posted on October 13th, 2011 by Dr. Nikoo Daftary

Cavities can lead to serious infections and potential tooth loss if left untreated. Preventing cavities is as important as understanding how cavities form. Consider the following information to learn about cavities and ask your dentist about the best preventative measures.

  • Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which often affects the outer enamel and the inner dentin. This infection can spread to the surrounding gum tissue, tooth pulp, or bone if the patient does not follow good oral hygiene or fails to consult a dentist. Tooth loss can occur if the cavity is not treated.
  • When teeth are not brushed and flossed regularly, food particles and bacteria build up on and around the teeth. These substances form a film on the teeth called plaque. Plaque buildup can make it easier for cavities to form.
  • As the bacteria settle on the teeth, they can begin to eat away at the enamel. Bacteria can also feed from sweet or starchy food particles left in the mouth, and this can lower the pH of the mouth. A lower pH makes it easier for bacteria to spread and attack the enamel.

Cavity Treatment

  • Once the enamel is breached, the bacteria make their way into the pulp of the tooth. There, bacteria may attack the soft tissue of the inside of the tooth. Infection spreads, and the tooth becomes more and more damaged.
  • Cavities often form in the pits and fissures on the surface of the tooth. They can also develop in the tight spaces between teeth. Brushing and flossing will remove food particles and bacteria that build up in your mouth, and a trip to your dentist every six months for a cleaning is vital to preventing cavities.
  • Children need to be aware of cavities as well. Parents should teach their children to brush and floss, avoid sugary foods, and eat a healthy diet. Visits to the pediatric dentist are also very important.

Come to Art of Modern Dentistry for dental treatments. Our pediatric dentists and cosmetic dentists can help your family take the best care of your teeth and prevent cavities. For an appointment with our experienced dentists, call (312) 361-0683 today.

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