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What Causes Cavities?

Posted on 11/7/2022 by Dr. Sebastien Murphy
What Causes Cavities?Cavities, also called tooth decay or dental caries, are tiny holes or openings in the teeth that occur when acids in the mouth erode tooth enamel. Everyone can get dental caries, mainly affecting kids, teens, and the elderly. If left untreated, cavities deepen, affecting the teeth's roots. They can result in severe infection, toothache, and eventually tooth loss. You can prevent yourself from getting cavities by practicing good oral hygiene. Here are how cavities develop:

Plaque Formation

A dental plaque, a white film on the tooth's surface, occurs when you consume a lot of starches and sugary foods and don't clean your teeth appropriately. This becomes the bacteria feeding area, and as a result, a plaque is formed. When the plaque stays on your teeth for an extended period, it hardens into tartar, which is hard to remove and needs professional teeth cleaning to eliminate.

Plaque Attacks

The bacteria in the plaque release acids to the tooth's outer enamel, getting rid of minerals. Small holes emerge in the enamel due to this erosion. As time passes, the erosion continues, destroying the next tooth's layer known as dentin, which is less resistant to acids and soft than enamel. When the dentin tubes that connect to the tooth's nerve are damaged, this causes tooth sensitivity.

More Damage

The acids continue to destroy the tooth until they reach the inner tooth material known as the pulp, which comprises blood vessels and nerves. The bacteria destroy the pulp, making it irritated and swollen. The swelling lacks space to expand and presses the nerve, causing a lot of pain and discomfort. The discomfort may extend the tooth root's outside to the bone.

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