What is a cavity?
You probably know that ache in your tooth, the discomfort when chewing, the pain when drinking something hot or cold. You know something is probably wrong with one of your teeth, but do you really know what a cavity is?
What exactly is a cavity, and what needs to be done to fix it?
A cavity is a hole in your tooth. Over time, your tooth has decayed and formed a small hole in your tooth’s enamel and the layer underneath, your dentin. This tooth decay is caused by bacteria.
Hundreds of kinds of bacteria live on your gums, teeth, and mouth. Some are helpful, but many are harmful.
When one of these harmful bacterias feed on the sugar you eat and drink, they create acid while eats away at your tooth enamel… and that causes a cavity. This tooth decay process happens over time and is called demineralization.
Here’s the good news: the early part of this tooth decay can be stopped!
To stop a cavity before it forms: brush twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, clean between teeth by flossing once a day, drink water to wash away sugars, and visit a dentist for a fluoride treatment. All this can help stop the harmful bacteria from making a hole in your tooth.
If nothing stops the decay, the bacteria eats a hole in your tooth enamel. Now, the cavity (or cavities, since you can have more than one at the same time) must be repaired by a dentist. Repairing a cavity is a relatively easy process, and it can often be done with just one visit to a dentist.
The bad news is that untreated cavities can lead to more tooth pain, a dental abscess, and infection. Stopping cavities before they form – through brushing, flossing, and a good diet with limited sugars – is the best course of action.