Cavities/Tooth Decay

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Cavities are permanently damaged areas within the hard surface of your teeth that develop into tiny openings or holes. Cavities, also called cavity or caries, are caused by a mixture of factors, including bacteria in your mouth, frequent snacking, sipping sugary drinks and not cleaning your teeth well.

Cavities and cavity are among the world’s most common health problems. They’re especially common in children, teenagers and older adults. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants.

If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. they will lead to a severe toothache, infection and tooth loss. Regular dental visits and good brushing and flossing habits are your best protection against cavities and cavity .


The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, counting on their extent and location. When a cavity is simply beginning, you’ll not have any symptoms at all. because the decay gets larger, it’s going to cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Toothache, spontaneous pain or pain that happens without any apparent cause
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain once you bite down

Risk factors

Everyone who has teeth is in danger of getting cavities, but the subsequent factors can increase risk:

  • Tooth location. Decay most frequently occurs in your back teeth (molars and premolars). These teeth have plenty of grooves, pits and crannies, and multiple roots which will collect food particles. As a result, they’re harder to stay clean than your smoother, easy-to-reach front teeth.
  • Certain foods and drinks. Foods that hold close your teeth for a long time — such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, edible fruit , cake, cookies, candy and mints, cold cereal , and chips — are more likely to cause decay than foods that are easily washed away by saliva.
  • Frequent snacking or sipping. once you steadily snack or sip sugary drinks, you give mouth bacteria more fuel to supply acids that attack your teeth and wear them down. And sipping soda or other acidic drinks throughout the day helps create a continuing acid bath over your teeth.
  • Bedtime feeding . When babies are given bedtime bottles crammed with milk, formula, juice or other sugar-containing liquids, these beverages remain on their teeth for hours while they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria. This damage is usually called baby bottle tooth decay. Similar damage can occur when toddlers wander around drinking from a sippy cup crammed with these beverages.
  • Inadequate brushing. If you do not clean your teeth soon after eating and drinking, plaque forms quickly and therefore the first stages of decay can begin.
  • Not getting enough fluoride. Fluoride, a present mineral, helps prevent cavities and may even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. due to its benefits for teeth, fluoride is added to several public water supplies. it is also a common ingredient in toothpaste and mouth rinses. But drinking water usually does not contain fluoride.
  • Younger or older age. within the United States, cavities are common in very young children and teenagers. Older adults are also at higher risk. Over time, teeth can affect and gums may recede, making teeth more susceptible to root decay. Older adults also may use more medications that reduce saliva flow, increasing the danger of tooth decay.
  • Dry mouth. xerostomia is caused by a lack of saliva, which helps prevent cavity by washing away food and plaque from your teeth. Substances found in saliva also help counter the acid produced by bacteria. Certain medications, some medical conditions, radiation to your head or neck, or certain chemotherapy drugs can increase your risk of cavities by reducing saliva production.
  • Worn fillings or dental devices. Over the years, dental fillings can weaken, begin to interrupt down or develop rough edges. this enables plaque to build up more easily and makes it harder to remove. Dental devices can stop fitting well, allowing decay to start underneath them.
  • Heartburn. Heartburn or esophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause stomach acid to flow into your mouth (reflux), erosion the enamel of your teeth and causing significant tooth damage. This exposes more of the dentin to attack by bacteria, creating cavity . Your dentist may recommend that you simply consult your doctor to see if gastric reflux is the cause of your enamel loss.
  • Eating disorders. Anorexia and bulimia can cause significant tooth erosion and cavities. Stomach acid from repeated vomiting (purging) washes over the teeth and begins dissolving the enamel. Eating disorders can also interfere with saliva production.


Cavities and cavity are so common that you may not take them seriously. And you’ll think that it doesn’t matter if children get cavities in their baby teeth. However, cavities and cavity can have serious and lasting complications, even for youngsters who don’t have their permanent teeth yet.

Complications of cavities may include:

  • Pain
  • Tooth abscess
  • Swelling or pus around a tooth
  • Damage or broken teeth
  • Chewing problems
  • Positioning shifts of teeth after tooth loss
  • When cavities and decay become severe, you’ll have:

Pain that interferes with daily living
Weight loss or nutrition problems from painful or difficult eating or chewing
Tooth loss, which can affect your appearance, also as your confidence and self-esteem
In rare cases, a tooth abscess — a pocket of pus that’s caused by bacterial infection — which may lead to more serious or even life-threatening infections


Regular checkups can identify cavities and other dental conditions before they cause troubling symptoms and cause more-serious problems. the earlier you seek care, the higher your chances of reversing the earliest stages of tooth decay and preventing its progression. If a cavity is treated before it starts causing pain, you almost certainly won’t need extensive treatment.

Treatment of cavities depends on how severe they’re and your particular situation. Treatment options include:

  • Fluoride treatments. If your cavity just started, a fluoride treatment may help restore your tooth’s enamel and may sometimes reverse a cavity in the very early stages. Professional fluoride treatments contain more fluoride than the quantity found in tap water, toothpaste and mouth rinses. Fluoride treatments could also be liquid, gel, foam or varnish that’s brushed onto your teeth or placed during a small tray that fits over your teeth.
  • Fillings. Fillings, also called restorations, are the most treatment option when decay has progressed beyond the earliest stage. Fillings are made from various materials, like tooth-colored composite resins, porcelain or amalgam that is a combination of several materials.
  • Crowns. For extensive decay or weakened teeth, you’ll need a crown — a custom-fitted covering that replaces your tooth’s entire natural crown. Your dentist drills away all the decayed area and enough of the remainder of your tooth to ensure a good fit. Crowns could also be made of gold, high strength porcelain, resin, porcelain fused to metal or other materials.
  • Root canals. When decay reaches the inner material of your tooth (pulp), you’ll need a root canal. this is often a treatment to repair and save a badly damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it. The diseased tooth pulp is removed. Medication is usually put into the root canal to clear any infection. Then the pulp is replaced with a filling.
  • Tooth extractions. Some teeth become so severely decayed that they can not be restored and must be removed. Having a tooth pulled can leave a niche that allows your other teeth to shift. If possible, consider getting a bridge or a implant to replace the missing tooth.

Basic questions to ask your dentist may include:

  • Do i’ve got a simple cavity, or do i want a crown or a root canal?
  • How many visits will it take to treat this tooth?
  • When will the pain go away?
  • What am i able to take for the pain?
  • How long should I wait before I eat or drink after this procedure?
  • Are there other steps I can fancy prevent cavities?
  • Does my local water system contain added fluoride?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have? What websites does one recommend?

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