How Do Cavities Form?
Cavities are one of the most common forms of oral health problems. They occur as the result of tooth decay and can be treated in your dental office in Lake Stevens, WA with a filling, or in severe cases, a root canal. What exactly are cavities, how do they form, and what can you do to prevent them? Here is what you need to know:
Tooth Decay Process
Tooth decay occurs as the result of bacteria and sugars building up on your teeth and forming a sticky film called plaque. Bacteria and sugars are almost constantly building, while minerals in your saliva and fluoride from a number of different sources work to protect your teeth and repair damage being done by the plaque to your tooth enamel. You help to tip the balance of power in favor of the protective substances by brushing twice daily and flossing at least once. When you do so, you remove plaque from your teeth and stop the damaging effects. If you don’t, then decay is allowed to progress and a cavity may form.
Over time, if plaque remains on your teeth, it release acids that destroy the minerals in your tooth enamel. Eating acidic or sugary foods and drinks can exacerbate this process. If the loss of enamel isn’t reversed by changes in your oral hygiene routine, then eventually, the enamel will be destroyed and a cavity will form. A cavity is a decayed, damaged part of a tooth that cannot be repaired by your body’s own immune system and must be filled by a dentist. If a cavity is allowed to grow, the decay will spread and may reach the roots of the tooth, in which case a root canal may be necessary.
Being diligent with your oral hygiene routine is the best way to prevent cavities. You should visit your dental office twice yearly for exams and cleanings. During your dental check-ups, your dentist will look for signs of cavities in their early stages and offer tips to help you reverse them so that you can avoid the need for fillings.