How Do Cavities Form?

How Do Cavities Form? By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on January 20, 2013

One of the most common dental problems that we address at our dental care center is tooth decay, most notably cavities (aka dental caries). Many people have heard of cavities, and yet there are many different misconceptions about what cavities are and what causes them. The team at our Jackson cosmetic dentistry center would like to take a few moments right now to look at the basics of cavities, what causes them, and how they can be treated. This should help clear up any misconceptions you have about cavities and help you better understand the treatments that we provide.

Bacteria in the Mouth

Inside of everyone's mouth is bacteria, which is normal. This bacteria is part of what causes cavities to form. It's also responsible for bad breath and gum disease. The bacteria feeds on food particles left in the mouth, which is why our cosmetic dentist in Flowood often stresses the importance of good dental hygiene habits. (More on that in a bit.) When the bacteria feeds on the food particles, it produces a substance called plaque.

The Dangers of Dental Plaque

Plaque is a biofilm that forms on the teeth. It's often clear or sometimes yellow in color. This plaque is highly acidic and eats away at the tooth structure. The outermost layer of the tooth is made of enamel, and though enamel is one of the strongest substances in the human body, plaque will gradually wear away the enamel. This loss of healthy tooth structure as a result of plaque is a cavity.

When the enamel is worn away, the plaque can also eat away at the dentin layer of the tooth, the layer below the enamel. If the tooth decay spreads to the interior chamber of the tooth, bacteria can infect the tissue within, causing major pain and discomfort.

Preventing Cavities Through Good Dental Hygiene

While there are many advanced dental care technology options out there, one of the best ways to prevent cavities is old-fashioned dental hygiene. This means brushing at least twice a day (ideally after every meal) and flossing every night. Doing so will remove food particles from the teeth, making it more difficult for plaque to form.

Preventing Cavities Through Regular Dental Check-ups

In addition to practicing good dental hygiene at home, it's important that you visit your dentist twice a year for normal check-ups. This will allow dental professionals to monitor your dental health and address any potential problems before they become more serious issues.

Ways That Cavities and Tooth Decay Can Be Treated

If you do develop a cavity, there are plenty of ways that we can treat the decay. In most cases, a normal dental filling will suffice. For more serious cases of tooth decay that are too big for a traditional dental filling, inlays and onlays are more ideal. If you suffer from extreme tooth decay, then the best bet for treatment is Jackson dental crowns.

We'll go over all of your options in greater detail during your visit so you get a good understanding of what each treatment can accomplish.

Learn More About Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry

For more information about tooth decay and how we can restore your overall dental health, be sure to contact our cosmetic dentistry center serving Jackson today. Our entire team of dental care experts looks forward to helping you make the best possible decisions about the appearance and the health of your smile.