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How Do You Get Cavities?

How Do You Get Cavities?

Cavities are spots in your teeth where the enamel has decayed. The hole or “cavity” must be filled by a dentist in St. Petersburg or the problem will cause more damage to your teeth.

Why do cavities occur? You probably know it has to do with sugar and not brushing your teeth well enough. But there’s more than one reason cavities form. Here are some of the more common.

How Does a Cavity Form?tooth ache from a cavity

The process of tooth decay is pretty straightforward. After eating, tiny pieces of food get stuck between your teeth. Bacteria grow on the food particles. Proteins in your saliva combine with the bacteria to create a whitish film called plaque.

The bacteria eat the sugars and starches in the food that’s left between your teeth. The byproduct of the bacteria’s digestive process is acid. If not removed regularly by brushing and flossing, the acid dissolves the hard outer surface of your teeth called the enamel. The resulting hole is known as a cavity.

Other Reasons a Cavity Forms

Receding gums

Adults often get cavities due to receding gums. The normal aging process, gum disease or vigorous brushing can cause gum tissue to become swollen or damaged. This will expose your tooth’s roots. Roots are not protected by enamel: Instead, they are covered by a softer material called cementum. Therefore, the roots are more susceptible to the acid produced plaque and they are at greater risk of developing cavities, and a faster rate. Cavities can be present even though they don’t hurt.

To prevent this problem, make certain you take good care of your teeth by brushing gently twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Good oral hygiene will remove plaque which can lead to gum disease. When you brush, don’t be overly forceful. Doing so can cause your gums to recede from your teeth and expose the cementum to plaque.

Old fillings

Existing fillings can also cause cavities. Over time, fillings weaken. Therefore, they can fracture causing the seal between the amalgam filling and tooth to become loose. Bacteria accumulates in those cracks and crevices of the filling and decay can occur.

To prevent this problem, make certain you maintain your existing fillings. During twice yearly exams, your Klement Family Dental team will examine the integrity of your restorations. If fillings need to be replaced, it can usually be corrected right in our office. Sometimes fillings can simply be replaced; others times, a crown or endodontic treatment is necessary to ensure a satisfactory outcome. You can read more here about the types of restorative procedures we offer in our office.

If you have an old filling that needs attention, please call to schedule an appointment today. The sooner you get it fixed, the less chance of further decay and damage.