Dental cavities are generally caused by tooth decay. This affects both the enamel (butter coating of the tooth) and dentin (inner layer of the tooth).
What causes decay?
Certain types of food with carbohydrates like bread, cereal, milk, soda, fruit, cake, or candy tends to stick to your teeth. This food debris is turned into acid by the bacteria in your mouth. Your saliva, bacteria, and food debris combines with the acid and creates plaque which sticks to your teeth. Then the acids in the plaque dissolves the enamel (in the outer teeth) creating holes. These holes are called dental cavities.
Can anyone get cavities?
There’s a common misconception that only children can get cavities. But with the changes happening in your mouth as you grow older cavities can be an adult problem too. As we get older our gums tend to pull away from our teeth. This sometimes also happens due to gum disease. The gum pulling away exposes the roots of your teeth to plaque. And when you eat a lot of carbohydrate rich food it increases the chances of getting cavities.
Adults sometimes tend to get decay around the edges of fillings. Seniors often require a lot of dental work especially if they haven’t got adequate fluoride or practiced good oral hygiene as a child. Over the years these fillings can weaken and breakdown letting bacteria gather in the gaps and cause decay.
How to know if you have dental cavities?
The most reliable way to find out is to get your teeth checked by a dentist. Your dentist will examine your teeth for soft spots or use and x-ray to check their health.
Those who had a cavity for a while will experience toothaches after consuming sweets, hot or cold food. Try checking your teeth in the mirror as sometimes the cavities will be visible as pits or holes.
What is the treatment for dental cavities?
The treatment may vary based on how bad the cavity is. Usually the dentist will remove the decayed part of your tooth and close the hole with filling made of safe materials such as silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or a composite resin. Crowns and root canals also might be considered based on the severity of the cavity.
If you are concerned about your oral health or have noticed sensitivity or unpleasant changes to your teeth or gums, please contact us and schedule an appointment.