What Causes Dental Cavities

What Causes Dental Cavities 2

Cavities develop as a result of uncontrolled tooth decay. The decay process begins when teeth lose their natural minerals faster than they can be restored. A biofilm called plaque is constantly forming on your teeth, as it is being fed by the sugar found in food and beverages. Plaque contains oral bacteria, which release acid in response to your eating or drinking anything other than water. The acids then leach minerals from the teeth. Your saliva helps rebuild the teeth by replacing lost minerals, but the remineralization process may be unable to keep up with the rate of demineralization. This can be due to poor dental hygiene, a diet high in sugary or starchy foods, acidic drinks and other factors.

If the decay continues, it will eventually destroy the enamel and the dentin of the tooth, creating a hole or cavity. Although children are often believed to be at a greater risk of cavities than adults, anyone can get a cavity. Your risk of cavities is higher if you smoke, take certain medications that cause dry mouth, have diabetes, have poor dental hygiene or have nutritional deficiencies.

You may not know you have a cavity until it reaches the inner structures of the tooth, at which point your treatment options may be limited to endodontic therapy, also known as a root canal. For this reason, regular checkups are recommended. At your checkup, we look for early signs of decay so that we can treat it before it leads to a cavity or root canal. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your next appointment with our team.


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