Many people view cavities as something that happens to children who eat too many sweets, but these little holes in the teeth can happen to anyone. They can cause pain and sensitivity, making everyday life less enjoyable — they can even cause you to avoid your favorite foods and drinks! But what exactly are cavities, what causes them, and how can you treat and prevent them? Your dentist in Stevens Point is here to provide the answers.
How Cavities Develop
A dental cavity is a hole in your tooth that penetrates the enamel and the dentin — the tooth’s two outermost layers. The hole exposes the sensitive part in the center of your tooth, which is why people with cavities tend to experience pain when they consume hot or cold foods and beverages.. If a cavity goes untreated, it may grow and lead to an infection in the tooth’s pulp.
Cavities happen through a process known as demineralization; this is when the minerals in your enamel wear away. Acid is the most common culprit behind demineralization. When you enjoy foods and drinks with a low pH level, the enamel becomes weaker and more susceptible to damage.
Sugar is also a major contributor to cavities. It interacts with the bacteria in your mouth, creating plaque, a clear, sticky substance on your teeth. The plaque is full of acid-producing bacteria, and if it’s left on your teeth long enough, it becomes tartar. Tartar is impossible to remove with a regular toothbrush, and it is a precursor for severe tooth decay.
Preventing and Treating Cavities
Plaque is constantly forming in your mouth because bacteria is always present there, so fighting it is an everyday battle. If you brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and don’t forget to floss at least once every day, you can greatly decrease the likelihood that you’ll develop cavities. Being careful to avoid consuming a lot of foods and beverages with a high sugar or acid content will also play a big role in keeping your smile intact.
It’s also important that you visit your dentist in Stevens Point at least twice a year. A professional has tools at their disposal that can wipe away tartar and clean out the places in your mouth that you might miss during your regular routine.
If you already have cavities, your dentist might recommend that you get fillings, which will stop the decay from spreading and protect the sensitive inner parts of your tooth. For larger cavities, you might need to receive a crown or other treatment.
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, but it isn’t invulnerable. If you understand how cavities develop, you’re in a better position to prevent them and keep your smile in great shape!
About Point Place Dental
The team of dentists at Point Place Dental has the experience and knowledge necessary to provide a range of dental services to folks in the Stevens Point area. If it’s time for your next cleaning, or you think you have cavities that need treatment, contact our office at 715-544-1277.