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What Causes Dental Decay?

Over 90% of adults have had a cavity at least once in their lives.

With tons of resources available that explain how to take care of your teeth, you might think that fewer people would be going to their dentists to have cavities filled. That is not the case.

These days, people are busier than ever before.

You have a family to take care of, a job to get to, and other things you’d rather be doing instead of spending time brushing and flossing regularly and possibly even using a Waterpik. And we get it, but do you know what happens when you don’t take the time to do those things?

You get cavities and you have to come see us to get them filled.

Don’t get us wrong, we love seeing you, but we know you’d rather be spending your time and money on things you actually enjoy. Before you learn how to prevent and treat cavities, it’s important to know how cavities start.

What is a cavity?

A cavity, or dental decay, is a hole in a tooth that is created as a result of the bacteria in your mouth creating acid, which can eat away at your enamel, which is the outermost layer of your teeth.

Some people have warning signs like sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold foods, but you may not even know that you have a cavity. Most of the time they are completely painless, even when quite advanced. Because they’re caused by bacteria, one cavity can often lead to many due to the bacteria’s ability to “jump” from tooth to tooth if left untreated.

How can I prevent dental decay?

Simple things like limiting sugary and sticky foods can go a long way. If you want to take extra precautions, brush your teeth two to three times per day for two minutes each time and try to floss every night. A home fluoride rinse is also a great way to strengthen your teeth and protect them against high levels of bacteria.

However, even with all of the preventative measures in the world, some people are more prone to cavities than others.

Years ago, some people thought that they had “soft teeth,” which contributed to higher levels of dental decay. The truth is that teeth are just as hard from one mouth to another (with the exception of a very rare congenital dental disease called Amelogenesis Imperfecta).

The real reason lies in the amount of bacteria in your mouth. That number can differ greatly from person to person. If you have a hectic schedule and you rely on packaged and processed foods that are higher in sugar than homemade meals, the bacteria in your mouth will feed off of the sugar and cause cavities.

What is the best way to treat a cavity?

If you’ve been doing all that you can to prevent cavities and one managed to appear anyway, don’t worry! The best thing you can do is book an appointment with Dr. Andrea Stevens. She and her team will work with you to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.

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