Though you might easily recognize what a tooth cavity is, there’s a good chance that some of what you might think about cavities isn’t entirely true. For instance, many patients believe the condition is caused by too much sugar in their diets, and are therefore confused when they develop cavities despite refraining from it. Since they’re the most common chronic condition in the country, the truth about why cavities develop and how to effectively prevent them is something everyone should know.
It Starts with Plaque, Not Sugar
The myth that sugar is the main culprit behind their development is one of the biggest misconceptions about cavities, but it isn’t exactly untrue. Sugar is a fuel that feeds certain oral bacteria, which then convert it (and other carbohydrates) into acids. The more acids oral bacteria produce, the quicker they can erode the enamel around your teeth, leaving them susceptible to infection from oral bacteria (also known as tooth decay).
Cavity Prevention is Time-Sensitive
When tooth decay sets in, it is only a matter of time before a hole, or cavity, develops as the decay penetrates the tooth. Preventing a cavity relies heavily on keeping your tooth enamel strong and healthy, such as by brushing and flossing away acid-producing bacteria and plaque. During your routine dental checkups and cleanings, we can check for signs of enamel erosion and early decay, and in some cases, reverse the process before a cavity has a chance to form.
Once a Cavity’s There, It’s There for Good
If a cavity does develop between your dental visits, then it will continue to grow larger as the decay consumes more of your tooth. Unfortunately, the damage to your tooth structure will be permanent, since teeth cannot regenerate themselves, like your bones or skin tissue. However, in most cases, we can restore the tooth and stop the cavity from growing by cleaning out the infection and reinforcing the tooth with a dental filling.
ABOUT YOUR TUCSON, AZ, DENTIST:
Dirk A. Newman, DDS, offers a full range of modern dental care services, including general dentistry, smile enhancement, smile restoration, and implant dentistry. To learn more, contact us today to schedule a visit by calling our office at 520-296-5439. Located in Tucson, AZ, we proudly serve patients from Tucson and all surrounding communities.