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Posted by on Aug 29, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

How Do Cavities Form in Teeth?

How Do Cavities Form in Teeth?

Our teeth are covered with a sticky, slimy substance plaque that enables decay producing germs to cling to them. Shortly after eating sugary foods or beverages, the germs begin to produce acid. It is this acid that drills into teeth, making cavities. The more sweets we eat, the more this damaging acid eats into our teeth.

The decay can go right through to the sensitive center of the tooth, causing a toothache. A visit to the dentist is the only remedy for tooth decay once it starts. Therefore, it’s important to give germs the “brush-off” after every meal. A cavity develops when a tooth decays, or breaks down. A cavity is a hole that can grow bigger and deeper over time. Cavities are also called dental caries, and if you have a cavity, it’s important to get it repaired.

Once you visit your dentist, he or she will carefully examine your teeth and may take X-rays. If your dentist discovers a cavity, he or she can repair it for you by first removing the rotted part of your tooth with a special drill. The dentist then fills the hole in your tooth with a special material. The result is called a filling.

Does it hurt? Sometimes it does, but your dentist can give you an anesthetic. That’s a kind of medicine that will numb the area around the problem tooth while you’re getting your new filling. Though cavities can be repaired, try to avoid them by taking care of your teeth.

Here’s how:

.Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste after every meal or at least twice a day.
.Bedtime is an important time to brush.
.Brush up and down in a circular motion.
.Gently brush your gums as well to keep them healthy.
.Floss your teeth once a day to remove plaque and food that’s stuck between your teeth.
.Limit sweets and sugary drinks, like soda or juice.
.See your dentist twice a year for regular checkups.

Content for this question contributed by Julie Stocker, resident of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA