People know that cavities aren’t good, but many don’t even know what they are. Knowing the answer to what is a cavity helps educate people about oral health. The more people know about cavities, the better they’re able to maintain a great smile.
What Is a Cavity?
Decay doesn’t exclusively occur overnight. It takes time. However, when people have poor oral hygiene the chances of tooth decay increase significantly.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
We’ve established that tooth decay leads to cavities, but what causes tooth decay? To answer this, the process begins when food containing carbohydrates becomes stuck in between the teeth. For example, this may include cereal, milk, soda, fruit, or bread. Bacteria in the mouth turns these carbs into acids that damage tooth enamel.
The enamel is the protective outer layer covering the teeth. Decay occurs as the outer layer softens. While enamel can stand up to a lot, acids quickly eat away at it. Once enamel weakens, it doesn’t take long for cavities to form on the tooth surface.
Why Should People Get Cavity Fillings?
Without treatment, cavities continue to grow. They start off on the tooth’s surface and, eventually, spread to the root, destroying the entire tooth. At this point, a root canal may be necessary. If left untreated for long enough, an artificial tooth replaces the rotten one. This is why frequent dental care is so important.
Common Causes of Tooth Decay
Sugars are carbs that cling to teeth and bond with the plaque. This bond promotes tooth decay. Additionally, it’s important to note that people who snack frequently are more likely to develop tooth decay. Every time they snack, they weaken the enamel, putting their teeth at risk for the next 20 minutes.
Tip: When people brush their teeth after eating, they remove foods that stick. Brushing also removes plaque. Studies show that people snack less after brushing their teeth. Often, snacking decreases because of the odd taste from mixing toothpaste with food.
Additionally, receding gums are another cause of tooth decay. When gums recede, it’s easier for plaque to form near the tooth’s root. Since the root doesn’t have protection, it’s more vulnerable to decay.
Let Us Take Care of Your Smile
At Rockville Family Dentistry, in Rockville, MD we care about your smile! In fact, we offer several preventative and restorative dentistry services to protect it. These include:
• Implant dentistry
• Teeth whitening
• Cosmetic dentistry
• Children’s dental care
Don’t let your smile fade away because you’re embarrassed about your teeth. Contact us at 240.447.3460 for more information about what is a cavity and our services that fix them.