How Cavities Impact You

How Cavities Impact You

Of all the diseases a person in today’s modern age can develop, cavities are one of the most common. Harmful bacteria in the mouth, especially streptococcus mutans is the main cause of tooth decay, if they are not removed daily. A little known fact is that parents can actually pass tooth decay bacteria on to their children by kissing them or sharing eating utensils! And not just parents. Siblings sharing straws or toothbrushes can do the same.

Smooth Surface Cavities
These cavities are found on the outside, smooth sides of teeth. They are the most preventable type of cavity, as well as the most easily reversible. They develop slowly, beginning as a white spot where bacteria dissolve the calcium enamel. These typically develop in permanent teeth between 20-30 years old.

Pit and Fissure Cavities
These “coronal” cavities develop in the narrow grooves on the chewing surface of the tooth. These begin in the teen years, progressing quickly, and are more difficult to clean (and prevent) due to their location (they are harder to reach). Dental sealants are often recommended on these back teeth to prevent cavities.

Root Cavities
These develop on the root surface of teeth. They are usually found in adults past middle age with receding gums, where parts of the root are exposed. Dry mouth—a condition that limits production of saliva (which neutralizes bacterial acids), along with poor cleaning of the teeth and a diet high in sugar can all contribute to root cavity development.

Cavities arise when the bacteria in your mouth react with sugar and starches in your food, producing acids that wear away tooth enamel. Cavities can go undetected for some time because you won’t feel pain from a cavity until it reaches the center of a tooth where the pulp (nerves) is located.

Fluoride can help tooth enamel heal in the early stages, but once a cavity spreads inside the tooth it will require a filling to drill out the decay and fill the space left behind. Can you see why your daily oral hygiene routine is so important?

Cavity causing habits include:
–Not cleaning your teeth properly
–Snacking constantly
–Sipping sweetened drinks throughout the day

To avoid cavities, brush your pearly whites with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day and floss thoroughly at least once a day. See your dentist at least once a year for cleanings and checkups to remove tartar using tools specially designed for the job. You may use a fluoride toothpaste if you don’t have access to fluoridated water, and dental sealants to protect your back teeth.

If you have questions, concerns, or would like to schedule your next dental cleaning, please give Dr. Mark McCall’s dental team a call at [phone].

2017-06-14T18:52:36+00:00January 12th, 2016|