Imagine this – you have come to see Dr. Miller for a cleaning and routine check-up. The cleaning goes well, but then she tells you that you have a cavity. You’ve been dreading the possibility of this news and now you fear that something must be wrong, since you have been brushing and flossing regularly.
At Discovery Dental, we see this happen every day and we want to put your mind at ease. Cavities are very common and usually a simple fix for Dr. Miller. Use this guide to learn about what cavities are and how you can prevent them.
Cavities: The Basics
Cavities are caused by tooth decay, which is a byproduct of too much plaque.
Here’s how it works. Every day, our saliva breaks down the food we eat into bacteria, and then into acid, which mixes with the saliva and forms the nuisance commonly referred to as plaque. Remarkably, it only takes 20 minutes for plaque to form on your teeth after eating. Plaque is corrosive to the outer layer of your teeth (enamel). If plaque is left to its own devices, it will likely result in tooth decay, which literally causes decay in the structure of your teeth. Both enamel and dentin (the layer beneath enamel) may be damaged during this process, and a cavity can often form as a result.
How to Prevent Cavities
Now that you know the cavity’s life story, it’s time to find out how to keep your teeth protected! First of all, it’s important to understand that the majority of people will get at least one cavity in their lifetime, and although cavities most often affect children, it is possible for people of all ages to get them at any time. How do you stay safe? Dr. Miller recommends these tips:
- Brush and floss at least twice a day, every day, especially after eating sugary or starchy foods! These foods transform into cavity-forming acid with ease.
- Mouthwash/rinses and pastes (such as Carifree and Fluorides) help your teeth stay protected.
- Watch for common warning signs – tooth pains or aches, particularly when caused by foods/beverages that are cold, hot, and/or sweet.
- Come see us at Discovery Dental for your cleanings and check-ups. We are experts at stopping cavities in their tracks and we love to see confident Shelby smiles.
If you still fear cavities, that’s OK. We just want you to know that they are quite common and you should never be embarrassed or ashamed about having one. That being said, it is not a good idea to ignore them. Eventually, cavities can cause tooth discoloration and even lead to actual holes in your teeth.
Don’t fret! Dr. Miller is Shelby’s leading expert on cavities and our office is equipped with modern X-ray and laser technology capable of detecting cavities before even they know what they are.