What are cavities?
Simply stated, a cavity is a tiny hole in your tooth.
YOU HAVE A CAVITY.. is not what anyone wants to hear! A cavity develops when a tooth gets weak or breaks down. A cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries and if you have a cavity, it’s important to get it repaired.
But why would your tooth develop a hole? Blame plaque. That’s a sticky, slimy substance made up mostly of the germs(bacteria) that feed and cause tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth make acids and when plaque clings to your teeth, the acids can eat away at the outermost layer of the tooth, called the enamel
Cavities are what happens to a tooth when we do not take care of our mouth consistently with daily brushing to remove the acid produced by bacteria in dental plaque.
We feed the plaque every day when we eat, the sugars in our food combines with the plaque and bacteria, and the bacteria poop and acid, over time the acid dissolves the tooth’s hard outer surface (enamel). Enamel is the hardest surface in the body.
Your dentist will carefully examine your teeth and may take an x-ray. If your dentist discovers a cavity, he or she can repair it for you by first removing the rotted part of your tooth with a special drill. The dentist then fills the hole in your tooth with a special material. The result is called a filling.
Initially, the cavity is limited to the outer layer of enamel, when it hard it can heal itself with proper care. But when decay progresses and reaches the inside of the tooth, known as the dentin, a filling is usually required to save it and keep it from getting bigger and causing pain.
Does it hurt for the dentist to treat a tooth? Sometimes it does, but your dentist can give you an anesthetic. That’s a kind of medicine that will numb the tooth and the area surrounding the problem tooth where you’re getting your new filling.
If you don’t get the teeth clean, the acids can continue to make their way through the enamel, and the inside parts of your tooth can begin to decay. If you’ve ever had a toothache or heard someone complain about one, it may have been because there was a cavity that reached all the way inside a tooth, where the nerve endings are. Ouch!
Cavities do not hurt you won’t even know you have one until the decay reaches the nerve of the tooth, this is when the problem tooth will require a root canal or extraction if you wait too long to get it looked at.
What are the Causes of Cavities
Every time you eat or drink, bacteria in your mouth start to produce acids that dissolve part of
the tooth’s enamel. Your saliva helps by washing away excess food and neutralizes the acid.
Minerals from the saliva and fluoride can repair the damaged enamel.
Frequent snacking between meals on sugary foods and drinks or poor oral hygiene leads to increased acid production by the bacteria. This is what weakens the tooth.
The frequent acid production does not give the tooth a chance to recover between meals and weakens the tooth this is how a cavity can develop.
How to prevent caries
Good oral hygiene is necessary to prevent dental plaque build-up, but fluoride and diet are equally important factors in the development of tooth decay.
- Brush your teeth twice a day
- If you are ok with fluoride use fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel and can heal early signs of tooth decay.
- Remember to also clean between your teeth once a day with floss or interdental brushes or a Waterpik
- Frequent snacking between meals will not give your teeth the chance to recover from the acid attacks. Let your teeth rest for a few hours
- Choose water when thirsty instead of sweet or sour drinks. Water has a neutral pH and will help balance your mouth.
- Don’t go to bed without brushing always go to bed with clean teeth – the production of saliva is reduced at night, which lowers the saliva’s effectiveness.
- If you suffer from dry mouth, the risk of decay is higher. Your oral hygiene is even more important as there is less saliva to help clean the teeth and neutralize the acid. There are products you can use for Dry Mouth.
- In addition to your daily home care, brushing and flossing, visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly.
If you get cavities and you are taking good care of your teeth pH could be the issue. You can get pH strips to test. your mouth. I have a course called the magic of pH if you would like more information click the link on the page.
There are products you can use that help prevent and heal cavities.
Gum with the first active ingredient of Xylitol.
MI paste has recaldent which is an alternative to using fluoride to strengthen teeth.
Cavities (also known as caries or tooth decay) are one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood in the United States. Untreated cavities can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing, and learning. Children who have poor oral health often miss more school and receive lower grades than children who don’t.
- About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
- 1 of 7 (13%) adolescents aged 12 to 19 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.1
- Children aged 5 to 19 years from low-income families are twice as likely (25%) to have cavities, compared with children from higher-income households (11%).1
You can prevent cavities at home. I am here to help create good oral health habits that last a lifetime and keep your mouth and body healthy.
Join the Healthy Mouth Movement…I have a podcast, Youtube channel, Facebook group, and Instagram page where I post about your mouth health. I would love to hear your wins and struggles. I am here to help.
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Go to Youtube to watch the video. https://youtu.be/Qz81sLIW_ow