What Causes Cavities & How to Prevent Them

What Causes Cavities & How to Prevent Them

Just about everyone has heard “brush and floss your teeth every day to keep cavities at bay” at some point in their lives.

Tooth decay, also known as dental caries, is the second most common disease in the world. Anyone can get cavities, although they’re most common in children, teenagers, and older adults. Often a result of the erosion of the enamel, cavities create holes in the teeth that lead to toothaches, infections, and tooth extractions.

Leaving cavities untreated causes the holes to get larger and deeper into the tooth’s inner structure. What may have started a simple filler procedure may develop into a full-blown tooth extraction.

Understanding the causes of cavities and learning simple preventative measures will help you avoid dental problems in the future.

Causes and Signs of Cavities

Cavities are mainly caused by several factors including, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks, and having a poor oral hygiene routine.

Foods that contain starches and sugars attract harmful bacteria that digest these foods and turn them into acid. The combination of acid, bacteria, and leftover food particles wear down and dissolve the enamel’s surface, creating holes in the teeth.

When the outer layer of enamel begins to decay, it’s rather painless, making it hard to identify a problem. However, as the decay continues to progress, you may begin to experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Facial swelling
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums or other signs of gum disease
  • Mouth pain or toothache
  • Sensitivity to cold or cold food and beverages
  • Black or brown staining on the surface of a tooth

The signs of dental cavities may differ depending on the stage of decay and the location of the tooth. It can be difficult to spot a cavity in your mouth, which is why it’s essential to regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.

woman experiencing tooth sensitivity to cold
father and daughter taking care of their teeth

Simple Cavity Prevention Tips

Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day is only half the battle of preventing tooth decay and cavities.

Consider implementing a fluoride-based toothpaste and mouthwash into your daily oral hygiene routine. Through a process called remineralization, the fluoride components will help repair and strengthen the tooth’s enamel. Having a strong barrier to protect against harmful bacteria and acid will decrease the risk of dental caries.

Some foods and drinks are better for your health and teeth than others. While it would be unreasonable to cut off all sugary and starchy foods and beverages from your diet, limiting their consumption and replacing them with fresh fruits and vegetables will help reduce the amount of acid production.

Getting dental sealants, which is a thin plastic coating painted on the chewing surface of the teeth, can greatly help prevent tooth decay. This simple procedure will act as a protective barrier from any destructive bacteria.

Protect Yourself From Tooth Decay

As important as it is to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine, it doesn’t always ensure you won’t get cavities.

Getting professional teeth cleaning and regular oral exams will help prevent tooth decay, as a dental expert will be able to spot any issues early on.

Our expert team of dental hygienists at Preston Dental work hard to ensure that our patients are relaxed and comfortable during their entire visit. We’ve made customer satisfaction our top priority to ensure you get the best results possible.

Reach out to us to learn more about cavity prevention and book your routine checkup today.

preston street dental office


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