Cavity – it’s one of the most dreaded words we hear from our dentist. In fact, we’ve probably grown up labeling a “good dental visit” as having a cavity-free mouth. While tooth decay is certainly not the only dental problem to worry about, it continues to be the most well-known. In fact, it is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases worldwide, affecting children as well as adults. Left untreated, however, cavities can cause pain, discoloration and eventual tooth loss.
At Dental Care Acworth, we want our patients to have a full understanding about cavities, including what causes them and the best ways to fix them.
How Does a Cavity Form?
A cavity, also known as dental caries or tooth decay, is primarily caused by a combination of bacteria, sugary foods or drinks, and poor oral hygiene. Here’s a breakdown of the main factors involved:
Dental Plaque: Our mouths naturally contain bacteria, which form a sticky film called dental plaque that coats the teeth. Plaque contains harmful bacteria that feed on sugars and starches from the foods we eat. If plaque is not effectively removed through regular brushing and flossing, the bacteria produce acids that attack the tooth enamel.
Acid Attack: The acids produced by the bacteria in dental plaque gradually erode the hard outer layer of the tooth, known as enamel. This process, known as demineralization, weakens the enamel and creates tiny openings or holes in the tooth surface, which are the initial stages of cavity formation.
Sugar and Starch Intake: Consuming sugary foods and drinks, as well as foods high in carbohydrates (starches), can contribute to cavity formation. Bacteria in the mouth feed on these sugars and starches and produce more acids, intensifying the demineralization process.
Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate oral hygiene practices, such as infrequent or ineffective brushing and flossing, allow plaque to build up on the teeth. This increases the risk of cavities as the bacteria have more time to produce acids and attack the tooth enamel.
It is important to know that factors such as the anatomy and location of the tooth as well as the amount of saliva production in the mouth can influence the likelihood of decay formation. It’s also worth noting that genetics, age, and overall oral health practices also play a role in cavity development.
White Fillings for the Win
At Dental Care Acworth, we can detect cavities at their earliest and most treatable stage when you visit us for your routine checkups. When it comes to repairing an area of decay on a tooth, our dentists proudly use composite resin, otherwise known as white fillings, as the most preferred choice.
Our Acworth patients prefer composite fillings for several reasons. Composite fillings are tooth-colored and can be matched to the shade of the natural teeth, making them more aesthetically pleasing compared to traditional silver amalgam fillings. The placement of white fillings also preserves more of the natural tooth since the material bonds directly to the tooth. Composite fillings are highly versatile, less likely to crack and do not contain mercury like amalgam fillings.
To learn more about cavities and the superior ways that we repair decayed teeth, call Marietta Dental Professionals.