Oral Health Care 101: Cavity Formation

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Some people don’t want to go to the dentist because they are afraid the dentist will tell them that they have a cavity. But what is a cavity, and how does it form? Let’s review the basics, so that you will be better able to avoid cavities in your own smile.

A cavity is a hole in your tooth enamel, which can expose the inner portion of your tooth–where the soft tissues and nerve endings are. This can lead to toothaches, tooth decay, or infection. If left untreated long enough, a large cavity can even lead to tooth failure.

Primarily, cavities form because of acid erosion. This comes as a surprise to some, as many people associate sugar with cavity formation. So which is it–acid or sugar? The answer is actually both.

The real culprit for much of cavity formation is the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria feed on sugars from leftover food particles; they then create an acidic byproduct, which coats the teeth and begins to erode the enamel. Acids from foods and drinks can erode the enamel directly, as well.

It is best to limit both your sugar and acid intake, and to clean your mouth thoroughly on days when you decide to indulge.

For more information, call Olson Dental Care in Bloomington, Minnesota, at 952-884-1308. Dr. Mitchell Olson and our team are happy to help you!