What forms cavity? / Houston Dentist at Dental Wellness Group
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What forms cavity?

What forms cavity?

What is it that Forms Cavities?

How exactly do cavities form? This question may have crossed your mind over the years. Find out the answer below to help you to avoid oral health problems such as cavities.

Foods Containing Sugars

You’ve likely heard that sugar causes cavities. This adage is true, to a certain extent. Sugar can lead to cavities, but it is not entirely responsible for the issue. It is actually the sugar and germs in your mouth that together make a cavity. This is because consuming sugar can result in tooth decay or cavities.

The Process of Cavity Formation

This is how it can happen. When you eat a candy (or other sugar-coated edible) or drink a sweetened beverage, the bacteria within your mouth starts to consume the sugar. These germs thrive off of the sugars and excrete acid as a result. The acid mixes with the bacteria at this point.

The acid starts to wear at the tooth enamel or the tough outer shell of the tooth. Small openings then form in the enamel. This is the start of a cavity. The acid and bacteria do not stop here but then move on to eating the next layer of the tooth, known as dentin. The process continues to the core of the tooth and can even reach the bone over time. The acid breaks down and leaches out phosphate and calcium bonds in the tooth.

In a late stage, you would likely feel soreness, pain and (or) sensitivity when biting down. At this advanced stage, a root canal may be necessary.

Other Causes of Cavities

A dry mouth can also be responsible for tooth decay that leads to cavities if it goes untreated. This makes sense as oral saliva helps to sweep away food debris left in the mouth after eating and a dry mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria to form and spread, thus putting your mouth at risk.

Some medications can cause dry mouth, including pain pills, muscle relaxers, and anxiety medications. Other times, it may be a medical issue causing the dryness, such as diabetes or Parkinson’s disease

How to Prevent a Cavity

The best course of action is to avoid that cavity from even forming in the first place. Your efforts really can help. In particular, brush at least twice a day and floss a minimum of once a day. The fluoride in Sensodyne Pronamel or another low-abrasion toothpaste and the fluoride in drinking water can help harden the tooth to act as a shield to acid. Water with a PH level above 5.5 is ideal. Some research also indicates that calcium in some forms can help strengthen the teeth; your dentist can advise in this regard if you ask them.

Also, it is important for both kids and adults to curtail their sugar intake to reduce the risk of developing cavities. This can include opting for water rather than sugar-laden juice or cola. Another suggestion is to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy items, rather than boxed products that may contain high amounts of sugars. Look for the term “citric acid” as it is a disguised name for sugar! Also, if you see any of these terms, they all are sugars too:

  • Corn Syrup
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose

As for a dry mouth issue, your dentist can suggest ways to increase saliva production, perhaps through medications, in coordination with your doctor, as well as how to lessen problems that result from the dryness. As suggested above, regular flossing and brushing are also paramount.

Rx toothpaste, Xylitol, and teeth bleach gels can also be part of the anti-cavity protocol. The latter gel kits refer to only those containing 10% carbamide peroxide bleaching gels and only ones with properly-fit trays (worn for half an hour at least one time every two weeks). These gels can whiten and brighten teeth in addition to eradicating mouth bacteria for about 14 days!

Visit Your Dental Professional

Of course, seeing your dentist for regular checkups is important as the professional can assess your mouth and see the first signs of tooth decay, if any. Plus, a fluoride varnish given in the dental chair is superior to any at-home rinse as it has more free radicals to guard against acid. Call today to make an appointment with Dental Wellness Group to ensure your mouth stays cavity-free or that you get a jump on any new oral issues before they become more serious.