How Cavities Form In Teeth

20 May 2015
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


Most people are aware that brushing and flossing reduces the chances of getting cavities in the teeth. There are however, a few extra steps you can take in helping to keep these craters from overtaking your cosmetic smile. Here is a summary of what happens when a cavity forms, some of the ways you can help keep cavities from occurring, and the best way to treat them.

How Do Cavities Form?

Cavities are small holes showing where there are decayed areas of the teeth. They occur when acids or sugars break down the elements that make up the teeth. It is very important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, as brushing removes these materials from the surface of them.

Whenever you eat food that contains starch or sugar, bacteria in the mouth will convert them into an acidic solution. This acid will make the enamel on the tooth deteriorate. When it is brushed away, it stops the process until food is eaten again. The acid will continue to break away at the enamel over time unless the minerals that made up the enamel surface are replenished.

To fill in the areas where acid invasions take place, saliva and fluoride are needed. Fluoride helps to rebuild areas where acid erosion is beginning. Saliva neutralizes the acid. During the day, the minerals start breaking down and get built back up, making it an ongoing process to keep on top of tooth decay. If you let down your guard and stop brushing and taking care of your teeth, decay will overpower and cavities will form.

How Can Cavities Be Prevented?

The fluoride in toothpaste will help build back up the minerals being eaten away by bacteria and acid. If you are unable to brush your teeth after a meal, rinse out your mouth with water to help get your salivary glands working, as saliva will also help in removing the acid and bacteria. Keep on top of flossing to help get food particles out from between the teeth. Use mouthwash to kill harmful bacteria, as well.

How Are Cavities Treated?

At the first sign of a cavity, your dentist will recommend having it filled so that the acids cannot get into the area to continue wearing away the enamel. This will completely stop the bacteria from overtaking that part of your tooth by covering it with a protective patch. Most people will opt for tooth-colored fillings if the cavity is near the front of the mouth, making it blend into the rest of their smile.

If you worry about getting cavities, ask a dentist, like Kyle J Frisinger DMD, about having sealants placed in cavity-prone areas. Sealants are made from a material that blocks acids from getting on the surface of the tooth.