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define a cavity

Define a Cavity: What Is It Exactly?

The American cancer society estimates that in 2019 about 53,000 people might get oral cavities or oropharyngeal cancer which occurs often on the tongue, the gums, tonsils, and oropharynx or other parts of the mouth.

Practice oral hygiene like brushing your teeth at least twice a day or flossing once a day as a routine to avoid getting cavities and other oral diseases.

We hear a lot of talk about cavities, but very few people know exactly what they are. Follow along as we define a cavity, in exact terms.

What Exactly Is Cavity?

Tooth decay softens your teeth enamel and inner layer dentin when acid created by sugars and starchy food particles get stuck up in your teeth. Bacteria in your mouth combined with your saliva and food particles may form acid plaque that clings to your teeth. When the acid dissolves the enamel, it creates holes in your teeth called cavities.

What Causes a Cavity?

Starchy foods like bread, soda, cakes, crackers, cereal or candy are notorious for causing acid to form in the mouth. In advanced stages, tooth loss or infection is as a result of continued high intake of sugar with little or no exposure to fluoride.

Fluoride strengthens your tooth shield by lowering the PH levels that bacteria require to combine with acidic plaque causing decay.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms That Define a Cavity?

Toothache is a major sign of tooth decay. The prolonged untreated cavity could also cause tooth breakage. You may also see holes or pits in your mouth. When you jolt or whine whenever you take something hot or cold, could also be a sign of a cavity.

How Is Cavity Treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the cavity. In most cases, your dentist will extract the decayed portion and fill the hole with a filling made from safe materials such as silver alloy, composite resin, gold or porcelain.

In other cases, a root canal could be an option if decay has killed the nerves around the affected tooth. Caps and crowns are also used when your cavity is severe and your dentist removes the weakened part of the tooth and fits the cap over the remaining part of the tooth.

Who Is at Risk of Getting Cavities?

Adults, seniors, and children are all vulnerable to getting cavities. In fact, changes in your mouth as you advance in age may cause gum diseases when your gums pull away from your teeth. This action exposes the roots of your teeth to plaque.

Infant and toddlers are also at risk of teeth decay when exposed to sugary fluids or foodstuff like gummy candy at an early age.

Prevent Yourself from Cavities and Tooth Decay

Your diet will define a cavity therefore, follow a healthy diet and avoid foods that feed the bacteria in your mouth. Brush regularly using fluoride toothpaste which will slow down enamel breakage. Floss every day and use mouth wash as well.

Ensure you visit a dentist annually for checkups or for a routine cleaning every six months

To know more about oral hygiene tips, check out this blog.