Teeth cavities are caused by tooth decay. Tooth decay can affect the outer tooth surface (enamel), the middle section (dentine) and the centre of the tooth (the pulp). The more layers involved, the more severe the damage is.
Natural bacteria living inside the mouth forms plaque, which interacts with debris from starchy and sugary food and turn them to acid. The acid dissolves the enamel over time and causes cavities. If the cavities are not addressed early on they involve more layers of the tooth. This can lead to severe tooth decay, infection and tooth loss in the long term.
Other contributing factors to tooth decay:
- Frequent snacking and drinking sugary drinks
- Not maintaining daily oral hygiene, brushing and flossing
- Not seeing dentist regularly
- Not having enough fluoride, which makes the teeth resistant towards the acid produced by plaque
- Not having enough saliva in your mouth. Saliva cleans away the food and sugar. A dry mouth can be a result of taking medicine or breathing through the mouth.
Who is at risk of having dental cavities?
Anyone can get dental cavities at any age. Older adults tend to have dental cavities around the edge of their fillings, senior people develop cavities due to a lack of fluoride in their teeth at an earlier age.
Prevention and Cure
Dentists can find cavities during routine dental check ups with the use of x
If you are diagnosed with tooth decay a dentist can remove teeth and fill the cavity with filling material. Nowadays these tend to be white fillings such as composite resin or porcelain that match the colour of the teeth.
If most of the tooth is lost, dental crowns are used instead of fillings. Crowns are made of porcelain fused to metal and gold.
If the root, the innermost part of the tooth, is damaged then a root canal treatment is needed. The nerve of the tooth will be removed, blood vessels, tissue and the decayed part of the tooth. They will fill in the root with some materials. The tooth with this treatment needs a crown.
If you have not had a dental check