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How Do Cavities Start?

It always makes you cringe when the dentist tells you that you have a cavity. It is frustrating to get cavities, but even more so if you aren’t sure how your cavity formed in the first place. To help you understand where cavities come from, here are some facts on how cavities are formed:

  • Bacteria build-up: Food that contains sugar and starches like to stick to your teeth. Then bacteria start to feed on the sugar and starches. As the bacteria sit on your teeth, they start to secrete an acid that will eat away at your tooth enamel, if not washed away with saliva or water.
  • Plaque attack: Once the bacteria begin to multiply, they will sit on your teeth and become plaque, which is a sticky substance that enjoys tearing into your teeth enamel. This sticky substance will soon harden and become tartar, which usually can only be removed during a professional dental cleaning.
  • Cavities arrive: After the bacteria secrete acid, and plaque and tartar grows, the acid starts to create small holes in your teeth. Bacteria will enter these holes, secrete more acid, which eats away more of your tooth until tooth decay appears and a cavity shows up. Even though cavities aren’t usually visible when you look at your teeth, they are there and can cause serious, painful damage if not treated.

The best way to prevent cavities is to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, drink water after eating sugar or starches, and visit your dentist for a bi-annual dental check-up. To set-up your dental check-up, contact the friendly, experienced dental staff at the Lakeway Center for Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today.