Understanding cavities

Jun 26, 2012

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do you get one? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily

Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)

Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach

Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink

Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up