What is a Cavity?
If you have great dental habits and still managed to get a cavity, you’re probably wondering what exactly a cavity is, what caused it and how the little bugger came to be. A cavity is exactly what it sounds like: a hole in your tooth. You probably know that it’s caused by some bad bacteria in your mouth, but the question is really how those bad bacteria managed to create a cavity.
It all comes down to that dreaded plaque we all despise. Plaque sticks to your teeth like glue, clinging to the enamel of your pearly whites with a obstinate magnetism. The bacteria in the plaque produce acids, and when they’re sticking to your teeth like they do, the acids will eat away the enamel of your teeth. Eventually, it will eat a hole in your enamel, which will only grow bigger and bigger the longer the cavity is left untreated. In some cases, the cavity my reach into the innards of the tooth, affecting the nerves and causing that bothersome toothache you have never wanted in your whole life. So, getting it repaired as soon as possible is preferable.
How is a Cavity Treated?
A cavity is treated like any other unwanted hole: it gets filled. Of course, there’s just a little more to it than that when it comes to a cavity. If your dentist spots a cavity, they’ll remove the decaying part of the tooth by using a drill within the cavity. Of course, the dentist will usually numb the area to be sure you are comfortable and pain-free during the procedure. After the affected area of the tooth is drilled, the hole will be cleaned and then filled with a certain dental material. The result is understandably called a filling.
There are ways to prevent a cavity, but such practices are well known and practiced daily by people all over the world. Most likely, you were raised to brush and floss properly and to keep from eating too many sugary foods in favor of healthy teeth, but it never hurts to review the preventive habits just to be sure:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day thoroughly and properly. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste will help strengthen the enamel and lessening the chances of a cavity forming.
- When brushing, be sure to brush in a circular motion over every tooth to ensure a thorough cleaning of your pearly whites.
- Also be sure to gently brush over you gums to keep them healthy and clear of gum disease.
- Floss your teeth once a day, whether morning or night, to prevent the buildup of plaque and food between your teeth.
- Avoid as many sweets and sugary drinks as possible. Such food and beverages will heighten the chances of getting a cavity, since they encourage the buildup of plaque on your teeth.
- Remember to visit your dentist every six months. A visit to the dentist will help ensure your teeth are healthy and properly treated should a problem arise.
Where do Cavities Most Often Occur?
Cavities usually occur in the back teeth where the molars and premolars sit. This is because the back teeth have grooves to help grind food more effectively. These grooves are also really great at collecting plaque and food and are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. With such a combination, the molars and premolars are more prone to cavities. The plaque will sit in those hard-to-reach places, making it easier for the bacteria to eat away at the enamel and form a cavity.
Even if you brush your teeth thoroughly and floss, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t get a cavity. While such practices will decrease the chances of getting one by a substantial amount, a cavity may still form in that difficult-to-reach area of your molar. You may not even know it’s there until you visit a dentist, so it’s important to keep up with your semiannual dental checkups. It’s better not to take any chances when it comes to your teeth.