For most of us, the main thing we don’t want to hear from our dentists is that we have tooth decay. Even as kids, the words “decay” and “cavities” have always carried a very negative connotation, especially when it’s our dentist mentioning these things. And it went without saying that once we heard the dreaded news that we had tooth decay, we automatically had to give up eating sweets and that we had to follow a stricter dental regimen which including flossing. But other than that, what else do we really know about dental cavities?

How do cavities form?
The story of cavity formation starts with bacteria that reside inside your mouth. The most likely microbial culprit is the Streptococcus mutans. In order for bacteria to thrive inside your mouth, they must feed, and food particles trapped in between your teeth, as well as other crevices in your mouth, serve as perfect fuel for these microscopic critters. The bacteria, in turn, produce acidic metabolites which are a component of plaque, that sticky film which coats the surface of your teeth. These acidic products eat away the enamel, which serves as the protective covering of teeth, and cause cavities.

Why are cavities painful?
When cavities are in the beginning stages, they are actually painless. In fact, they are so painless that you would not have any inkling that they are even there. But once the holes become larger and penetrate deeper into your teeth, sensitive nerves become exposed, which causes the pain which we commonly associate with tooth decay. Large cavities are also conducive breeding grounds for bacteria which lead to infection, pus formation, and, eventually, the loss of your tooth.

If you want to prevent the pain that comes with cavities, the answer is to have them filled while they are still small. This entails going to the dentist for regular teeth cleaning procedures at least once every six months. Dr. Fleming of Belmont Dental Care in Scottsdale, AZ can do thorough check up of your teeth and detect the presence of cavities and fill them before they become even more problematic.

How do you prevent the formation of cavities?
Your mother was on the right track when she forbade you to eat sugary treats to your heart’s content. This is because sugar and other forms of carbohydrates are ideal energy sources of cavity-causing bacteria. If you can not banish sweets from your diet completely, try to at least stay away from sticky candies which get stuck in your teeth and cause greater harm. Talk to Dr. Fleming of Belmont Dental in Scottsdale, AZ for other tips for avoiding the formation of cavities.