What causes a cavity & tooth decay?
Tabor Dental Associates serve the Hendersonville, Gallatin, Goodlettsville & Nashville areas.
Cavities and tooth decay is caused by a variety of things; in medical terms, cavities are called caries, which are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures such as enamel and the tooth’s inner dentin material.
These destructive forces include frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Soda, candy, ice cream—even milk—are common culprits. Left inside your mouth from non-brushing and flossing, these materials break down quickly, allowing bacteria to do their dirty work in the form of a harmful, colorless sticky substance called plaque.
The plaque works in concert with leftover food particles in your mouth to form harmful acids that destroy enamel and other tooth structures.
If cavities aren’t treated early enough, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.
Can I prevent a cavity?
The best defense against developing a cavity is good oral hygiene, including brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body’s own saliva is also an excellent cavity fighter, because it contains special nutrients that rinse away many harmful materials. Chewing a good sugarless gum will stimulate saliva production between brushing and also help prevent a cavity.
Diet is a major factor in cavity prevention as well. Too many refined sugars in your eating habits are the greatest indicator for future cavities than anything.
Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to stave off cavities from forming.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:
- Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods.
- A localized pain in your tooth or near the gum line.
- Teeth that change color.