Cavities (more commonly referred to as tooth decay) are permanently damaged areas in the surface of your teeth that gradually develop into small holes. They are amongst the world’s most common health problems, found to occur more frequently in children and teenagers, however anyone with teeth can develop them. When cavities are left untreated, they expand and begin to affect deeper layers of the teeth leading to toothaches, infections and in extreme cases, even tooth loss. Here at Cheam Village Dental Studios, we encourage all our patients to have regular checks with our dentist in Cheam so that they may identify any early signs of cavities and prevent them from becoming larger and untreatable.
What causes cavities to occur?
Cavities are caused by tooth decay which occurs over a period of time due to the formation of plaque that coats the exterior layer of your teeth. It occurs due to a combination of excessive consumption of sugars and starches and poor oral health. When your teeth are not brushed efficiently, sugars that are not thoroughly cleaned off are eaten by bacteria which causes the formation of plaque. The acid in plaque removes minerals from your tooth’s enamel causing small holes to form in it. Another common cause of cavities includes tooth location; decay mostly occurs in the teeth that are located at the back of the mouth such as the molars and premolars due to the multiple crevices they have which are a popular breeding ground for bacteria caused by remaining food particles. Due to their location not being as easy to reach as your front teeth, they are more difficult to keep clean and therefore have an increased chance of developing cavities. Specific food and drink that contain high levels of sugar are also a usual cause of cavities, as they grip onto the surfaces of your teeth for an extended period of time as opposed to food that easily wash away with saliva.
What are the symptoms of a cavity?
There are various signs and symptoms that may suggest you are suffering with cavities, so it is best to contact our dentist in Cheam as soon as you find that you are presenting any of the following signs or symptoms.
If you notice unforeseen toothache or pain, it is often an indication that you may have one or multiple cavities. Tooth sensitivity can also suggest that you have a cavity, especially when brushing your teeth or drinking hot or cold beverages. Sometimes the holes can become big enough for you to see yourself; if you find visible holes or pits in your teeth, then it is time to contact our dentist in Cheam to book an urgent appointment.
How can cavities be prevented?
There are many precautionary measures one can take in order to prevent the development of cavities. The most important way to prevent cavities from forming in your teeth is to maintain good oral hygiene with a combination of a well-balanced diet. It is imperative to brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and rinse your mouth with a fluoride-containing mouthwash after every meal, however we appreciate this may not always be possible, so we recommend at least twice a day. Eating food that promotes good tooth health also reduces the risk of getting cavities, so it is best to avoid food that gets stuck in the crevices of your teeth. Reducing your consumption of drinks that are high in sugar will also reduce the chances of cavity formation.