A dental cavity is a hole in the tooth that develops over time. Many aren’t aware that you can actually stop and reverse the tooth decay process. Here we will discuss how cavities form and specific steps to take to prevent cavities.
What is a cavity
The mouth is constantly exposed to bacteria from the food we eat. This bacteria lives on the teeth, tongue, gums, and other areas in the mouth. Much of this bacteria is helpful but it can also damage our teeth. When a tooth begins to decay, certain bacteria utilize food sugars to create acids. These acids generate a cavity in the tooth over time.
There is a constant battle going on in your mouth, a battle between bacteria and sugars versus saliva and fluoride. Here’s how it works. When we consume foods or drinks that have sugar or starch, the bacteria in those items produces acid. These types of foods include cookies, cakes, milk, soda, juice, bread, and others. The bacteria take these foods and use them to create acids that will eat away at tooth enamel.
While this is going on, the minerals in the saliva (including phosphate and calcium) in addition to the fluoride in toothpaste, work to strengthen the broken down enamel. The enamel is repaired by regaining minerals that were destroyed when exposed to acid.
How does a cavity form?
As a tooth is frequently exposed to acid, the enamel will continuously lose minerals and eventually a white spot can form where minerals were lost. This white area is an indication of the onset of early decay. When a white spot is visible, the decay process can be reversed. If the white spot is left to fester and continues to lose minerals, a cavity will develop.
The following tips will help strengthen tooth enamel and stop decay, if it hasn’t progressed too far already:
- Limit in between meal snacking
- Only eat sugary drinks or foods on occasion
- Do not eat sugary substances after you’ve brushed your teeth for the night
- Use a floured rinse or toothpaste
- Brush twice a day (and after meals) and floss once a day
Arrange a consultation
If it has been over a year since you last dental cleaning, call Drs of Smiles today to arrange your consultation to check and see if you have any cavities. You can reach our office at (480) 834-6991, located in Mesa, Arizona.