What Exactly Is A Cavity?

Ever since you were a kid you’ve heard the same threat every time you unwrap a piece of candy, “You’re going to get a cavity if you keep eating that candy”. Well after countless candies later and with no sign of pain or tooth issue, you might think to yourself that you’re home free. However often times a cavity can sneak up on you and cause alarm at any given morning with the surge of pain and reality that they bring.

Cavities aren’t the end of the world, but they can definitely mean the end of a tooth. It’s important to understand what a cavity is. When dentists or parents refer to cavity, they mean the breakdown and decay of your tooth. In a literal sense, it is forming a hollow decaying cavity in the hull of your tooth. It starts on the surface, quickly breaking down the enamel, and slowly working it’s way into the core of your tooth where it could entirely kill off the roots if not treated. How exactly does a simple candy cause the creation of a hole in your tooth?

Candies are made sweet by the high levels of sugar used to make them. Sugar is a micro-adhesive to your teeth that can stick to them and promote the growth of plaque. Plaque, that micro-filmy stuff you are supposed to brush off every morning and night with your toothbrush and paste, can build up quickly if your teeth aren’t cleaned properly. The acids created by the breakdown of old food particles in your mouth will cling to the plaque and begin powering through your tooth’s enamel. Once there is a deep enough breach in the enamel, the decaying process begins in a funnel-like motion, moving all the acids slowly towards the center point where the hole is forming.

Cavities can be handled by your oral hygienist through a strict regiment of cleaning the enamel and deeply excavating the hole while ridding it of any decay before finally sealing the hole. The holes, although very tiny, can make a rather odd shape that is hard to clean. That is why dentists usually drill them out to create a larger, clean hole which can be filled. While dealing with a cavity is doable, it’s definitely a headache most patients wish to avoid. That is why the oral hygienists and staff here at Sugar Land Dental Spa recommend a strict schedule of brushing at least twice day, with intermixed flossing and mouthwash use throughout the week.