Your Gaithersburg dentists at Clopper’s Mill Dental Care will answer that question for you here, outlining what cavities are, how they are caused, and how they are treated (or ideally, avoided altogether).
What is a cavity?
A cavity is essentially a consequence of tooth decay. Every time you eat, the sugars and starches in the food react with the bacteria in your saliva, creating an acid that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. This process repeats itself, causing a loss of enamel and minerals on your teeth—and when enough damage is done and enough mineral material is withered away, you have a literal cavity below the surface of your tooth.
This process is inevitable—but its effects are dramatically slowed by proper oral health habits like brushing your teeth, flossing, using mouthwash, and avoiding high-sugar foods and beverages.
How do I know if I have a cavity?
Your dentist is the only person who can conclusively say if you have a cavity or not, mainly because cavities are not visible at the tooth’s surface. The outside surfaces of your teeth are very strong, but the materials directly below the surface are more susceptible to disintegration and acid attacks—and when enough of that inner material is gone, your tooth collapses slightly. Most cavities happen in the pits of your back teeth (like molars), between teeth, and near the gumline.
What causes tooth decay?
The common and prolific causes of tooth decay are failing to practice quality oral health habits (which allows acids to run rampant and cause damage and disintegration), poor nutrition (which weakens the defense responses of your teeth and gums), and similarly, poor dietary choices like consuming large amounts of candy, soda, sugar, and high-carb foods.
How do I prevent tooth decay?
To prevent tooth decay, follow the advice that your mother has always given you: Brush twice daily and floss daily to remove plaque buildup from acid attacks, use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen the enamel of your teeth, drink fluoridated water, and of course, keep your Dr. Pepper and Swedish Fish consumption to a minimum.
Visit Your Gaithersburg Dentist
Untreated cavities can cause severe oral health issues, like bacterial infections, tooth loss, gum disease, and jaw damage. Avoid these problems by practicing proper oral health habits and by visiting your Gaithersburg dentist at Clopper’s Mill Dental Care. Our experienced dental professionals will keep your teeth in excellent shape, and will provide you with tips and advice to avoid cavities and keep you smiling all year long. Get started today—schedule an appointment with Clopper’s Mill Dental Care!