Cavities or caries are the tiny openings in the teeth’ enamel. Carries are common in children, teenagers, and seniors. But, they can affect almost anyone, including infants. Cavities take time to develop; however, if left untreated, they advance and get larger and end up changing the teeth’ deep layers. Knowing what causes cavities will help you in preventing them.
Tooth decay is the primary cause of cavities, and it develops with time. Dental caries affect both the enamel (outer surface) and the dentin (inner layer), and it is at this time when cavities start to develop.
Decay develops when plaques form on the tooth surface. A plaque is a sticky film that develops in the enamel when you eat sugary foods. We have a colony of bacteria in the mouth that breaks the sugary foods and produces an acid solution. When you fail to clean off your teeth after eating, plaques begin to build up and eventually develop into tartar (the primary cause of gum disease).
The acid solution attacks the enamel and erodes it of the essential minerals. This eventually causes tiny holes in the enamel. The more you expose the enamel to this acidic solution, the higher the chances of developing decay. When the first layer of the teeth is worn out, the bacteria will make way to the next layer—dentin. The dentin is less resistant to acid attacks and more prone to infection.
As the decay advances, it affects the pulp that houses nerves and blood vessels. This causes swelling, irritation, and pain that extends to the tooth root and bone.
Children and teenagers are mostly affected by dental cavities. However, both infants and adults can also be affected by decay. As you grow older, the gums begin to recede, exposing the roots at risk of decay.
Several factors can increase your risk of developing dental decay, and they include:
Cavity treatment includes:
Good oral hygiene prevents dental cavities. Other ways that our dentist can recommend using fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash, dental sealants, eat healthy foods and drink tap water occasionally as it contains fluoride.
We also recommend getting regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months. This makes it easy for the dentist to remove accumulated plaques and also detect dental cavities on time.
If you have tooth sensitivity, moderate to sharp pain when eating or drinking, it is time to see the dentist as you may have cavities. Visit The Art of Dentistry clinic, and our Park Ridge Dentist will recommend the ideal treatment.