Understanding Cavities

As long as a person is old enough to have teeth, cavities can occur, regardless of age. A cavity is a permanently damaged area on the surface of your tooth that is decayed. And because an untreated cavity can continue to develop, it can altogether destroy your tooth.

Cavities occur more often in the molars (back teeth), because bacteria easily collect in their ridges. Molars are also more difficult for the average tooth-brusher and flosser to clean sufficiently. And for inexperienced brushers like children, it’s nearly impossible.

But how do cavities develop? Cavities develop due to plaque. And plaque is a very sticky film of bacteria that is always developing on your teeth. When you eat sugary food or drinks, there are bacteria in plaque that produce acids which attack and destroy your tooth enamel, the hard outer layer that protects your teeth.

Tooth decay refers to this destructive process on your tooth enamel. And because plaque is so sticky, it prolongs the exposure of these acids to your teeth. Cavities begin to form as enamel is broken down over time.

Unfortunately, when a cavity is in its early stages, you probably won’t have any symptoms at all. More often than not, a person has no idea a cavity is forming. That’s why regular dental checkups and cleanings are so important: Dentists and hygienists are cavity investigators who can detect problems early!

There is good news about cavities: You don’t need to have firsthand experience with them. If you attend your regular dental checkups and cleanings, brush twice a day, floss once a day, and eat a well-balanced diet, then your chances of experiencing a cavity are greatly diminished. If you have questions or concerns about cavities, feel free to call our office at 360.200.6995.