What is a cavity and how did I get one?
Cavities occur when the bacteria in our mouths eat the food and sugars that have been left on our teeth. When they do this, they create acid, which dissolves the enamel on our teeth. Our saliva buffers this acid and remineralizes the enamel. When this process is out of balance, a cavity forms. Individuals with dry mouth, which can be caused by medication side effects or medical conditions, are therefore more prone to cavities.
To prevent cavities, we can minimize the amount of sugary and starchy food we consume, remove the bacteria from our teeth with good brushing and flossing habits, and strengthen our teeth with fluoride, which makes the enamel more resistant to the acid created by the bacteria.
It’s also true that some people are simply more prone to developing cavities than others. By coming to our office twice each year for examinations and cleanings, we are better able to spot tooth decay while it is still small. A filling will keep the decay from growing—and it will protect the health of your tooth. Skipping dental appointments means risking that an untreated cavity will grow, eventually creating a need for more invasive treatment, such as a root canal.