How Cavities Form
Cavities are an extremely common dental problem that affects every age group; young children, teenagers, adults, and seniors are all at risk for developing cavities. Today, dental caries (cavities) are a common dental problem among seniors. In fact, the rate of cavities is higher in seniors than it is in children. Many people, both young and old, fear the formation of cavities. Fortunately, eating a healthy diet and engaging in good oral hygiene habits can prevent cavities from forming. In order to prevent cavities, it is important to understand how cavities form.
How Cavities Form
Cavities, or dental caries, are permanently damaged areas in the tooth’s enamel and dentin that create small holes and crevices. These damaged areas are a result of tooth decay. The primary cause of tooth decay is the build-up of plaque on the surfaces of the teeth. Plaque forms when acid, food particles, saliva, and bacteria within the mouth combine. If plaque is not promptly removed from the teeth, it will slowly eat away at the tooth’s surface, causing decay. Over time, the acids found within plaque will cause a cavity to form.
Many patients are not aware that they have a cavity until undergoing a routine dental check-up with Abilene cosmetic dentist Tim Simpson. Tooth decay is often painless even when a cavity is present, making dental check-ups essential to protecting the health of your teeth. There are many options available in the treatment of cavities such as tooth-colored fillings and dental crowns. To determine the most effective way to treat your cavity, x-rays are used to see the amount of decay present in the damaged tooth. Tooth-colored fillings are an inconspicuous and aesthetically pleasing option in the treatment of dental caries. Tooth-colored fillings blend in with the surrounding teeth, thereby becoming practically undetectable, while still maintaining the function, health, strength, and aesthetics of your smile. Dental crowns are “caps” that are placed over the visible portion of a tooth, including below and at the gum line, to restore its appearance, shape, size, and strength. These “caps” provide protection and restore strength to damaged and decayed teeth. For patients in Abilene, dental crowns may be used in the treatment of a cavity when the cavity is a result of severe decay.
Preventing Cavities from Forming
For many of our patients in Abilene, cavities can be prevented. Unfortunately, certain patients are more prone to the formation of cavities than others. Still, the majority of patients are able to prevent cavities. These dental habits can help prevent cavities from forming:
- Using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Flossing at least once a day (flossing removes plaque that cannot be removed by brushing alone)
- Eating a healthy diet that is low in sugar
- Eliminating highly acidic beverages and foods from your diet (acidic foods and beverages contribute to tooth decay)
- Undergoing routine dental check-ups and professional dental cleanings every six months
- Not using any tobacco products
Contact Abilene Aesthetic & Cosmetic Dentistry
Our skilled staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have. To learn more about how cavities form and to schedule an examination, please contact Abilene Aesthetic & Cosmetic Dentistry today.