How Cavities Form and How to Fight and Prevent Tooth Decay

How Do Cavities Form – Toronto

Patients who visit The Art of Dentistry can count on our team to provide excellent dental care treatments. Serving the greater Toronto area, we offer comprehensive cosmetic, general, and restorative dentistry to enhance dental health and wellness.

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems that our team sees on a regular basis. Let’s take a moment right now to consider causes of cavities and how they can be treated.

What are cavities?

Cavities are related to the bacterial decay of tooth structure. They can come in various sizes, from small dental caries to more substantial decay of most of a tooth’s structure. If left untreated, the cavity can result in weakened teeth, infection of the internal structures of the teeth, or even tooth loss.

Oral Bacteria Naturally Occurs in Your Mouth

The primary cause of cavities is oral bacteria. This is the bacteria that naturally occurs in the mouth and causes bad breath and gum disease in addition to tooth decay.

The Damage Done When Bacteria Feeds on Food Particles

The oral bacteria feeds on food particles between teeth and in the mouth. When it does this, the bacteria produces a harmful acidic substance that eats into tooth structure, allowing food particles to get trapped in these portions of the tooth an bacteria to keep feeding.

What is plaque?

Plaque is a form of biofilm that is created by the oral bacteria. This sticky substance allows the bacteria to remain in place on a patient’s tooth structure and feed on food particles as they remain on or between the teeth.

What is tartar?

Tartar, also known as dental calculus, occurs when plaque remains on the teeth and does not get cleaned. The plaque hardens into tartar, providing an ideal surface for oral bacteria to attach to and continue to produce more plaque.

Basic Treatments for Cavities

There are many different treatment options available for cavities, and the ideal option for a patient will depend on his or her current circumstances.

For minor cavities, the best option is the use of dental restorations, such as fillings. These help restore the damaged portions of the tooth structure.

Professional preventative treatment for cavities includes general cleanings and routine visits as well as root planing and scaling (deep cleaning). Root planing and scaling treatment involves the scraping away of plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth. This helps prevent both tooth decay and gum disease from occurring.

Advanced Therapies for Major Tooth Decay

For more advanced cases of tooth decay in which a filling is no longer ideal, the best treatment options are more substantial restorations, such as inlays, onlays, and dental crowns.

If a cavity leads to the infection of a tooth’s structure, the ideal treatment option is a root canal. Root canal therapy will remove the infected soft tissues of a tooth and save the tooth from extraction in the process.

When a tooth is severely decayed and unable to be saved, the best option for care is generally extraction. If a tooth needs to be extracted, our team can discuss various options available for tooth replacement during a consultation at the practice.

Tips for Cavity Prevention

In order to prevent the formation of cavities, consider the following simple tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night
  • Drink water to remain hydrated and remove food particles between your teeth
  • Avoid snacking on sugary foods between meals
  • Visit your dentist regularly for general visits

Schedule a Dental Visit at Our Practice

For more information about cavity formation and how our team of dental health experts can help you have a healthy and beautiful smile, it’s important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry practice today. We look forward to your visit and helping you have the smile of your dreams.