How Do Cavities Form?
A dental cavity is the most common dental problem that is treated by Knoxville cosmetic dentist Thomas G. Zarger, Jr. While it is easy enough to repair the damage caused by a dental cavity, Dr. Zarger believes strongly in preventative dentistry. By keeping his patients informed on the proper way to care for their teeth, as well as the causes of common dental problems, Dr. Zarger hopes to help his Knoxville patients avoid problems such as dental cavities, along with the need for restorative dental treatments. If you’d like to be more knowledgeable about your oral health, read on to learn how dental cavities are formed.
Causes of Dental Cavities
Our teeth are protected by a layer of enamel, a hard mineral substance. This material can be damaged by the presence of acid or bacteria. Both acid and bacteria are present in our mouth and can build up and multiply as a result of the foods and beverages that we consume. Foods that are high in acid, sugar, and starch are the most likely to cause damage to the teeth. Acidic foods will eat away at the enamel of the teeth, while sugar and starch feed bacteria and cause them to multiply. When there is a large amount of bacteria on the teeth, plaque and tartar form. All of these substances (acid, plaque, and tartar) slowly eat away at the tooth enamel, creating small holes on the surface of the teeth. If the teeth are not properly cleaned and cared for, these holes continue to grow. A significant hole (or area of decay) is referred to as a dental cavity.
Preventing Dental Cavities
It is impossible to completely eliminate the acid or bacteria that are around our teeth. But what we can do is make sure that our mouth is kept clean so that these substances are not allowed to build up and cause dental cavities. By taking the following steps, patients can maintain a clean and healthy environment for the teeth.
- Brush at least twice daily, ideally after each meal
- Floss at least once a day
- Use toothpaste or mouth wash that contains fluoride
- Drink plenty of water and rinse with water after eating or drinking, especially if the food is high in acid, sugar, or starch
- Schedule a dental exam and cleaning at least once every six months
It is possible that a cavity will form even if all of these steps are taken. Fortunately, there are many treatments available for tooth decay. A regular dental cavity will be treated with a dental filling. Following a thorough cleaning, a filling will be placed inside the tooth to increase the strength of the tooth and serve as a protective barrier against bacteria. If Dr. Zarger believes that a dental filling is not an appropriate treatment for more severe cases of tooth decay, he may recommend to his patients in Knoxville dental crowns to cap off the tooth and replace the loss of significant tooth enamel.
Schedule an Appointment
Dr. Thomas G. Zarger, Jr., has over 30 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. Whether you have tooth decay that needs to be treated, or are simply looking for professional advice on how to maintain good oral health, Dr. Zarger can help. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Zarger to learn more.