Cavities are one of the most common dental problems in children as well as adults. Cavities if left untreated can lead to severe tooth pain. So, what causes cavities? Do you know that cavities are caused by harmful bacteria that colonize in your teeth?
What are cavities?
Cavities also called as dental caries are created as a result of bacterial tooth decay. When a tooth structure both enamel and dentin are destructed, holes are created in the upper and inside layer of the teeth causing cavities.
Bacteria is what causes cavities
Mouth is a very busy place for bacteria. They are continuously on the traffic on your gums, teeth and mouth. When you eat foods that contain carbohydrates, sugars, milk, cakes, candy, fruits, soda and cereals, the food debris are left on the mouth and teeth. Bacteria in the mouth make use of these left over food debris to grow and multiple thereby, producing acids in the process. If this food debris along with bacteria is not cleaned properly by brushing and flossing, they combine together with saliva (protein) to form a thin film on your teeth called as plague. Plagues contain acids which dissolves the enamel of the teeth and thus, creating holes or cavities in the teeth. This is what causes cavities.
Once there is accumulation of plague at the base of your teeth near the gums, acids in plague attacks your teeth to remove tooth’s minerals (enamel). Erosion of this enamel results in tiny holes or openings in the tooth’s enamel. This is the initial stage of dental cavities. Tooth destruction continues further deep into the next layer. Once the enamel are corroded, bacteria invades the softer layer of the teeth called as dentin. This is less resistant to bacterial acid attacks. It is clear that plague is the main culprit in causing tooth decay and is sole responsible to what causes cavities.
If this is not treated, bacteria will continue to march towards your inner pulp chamber containing blood vessels and nerves. Once they are invaded infection will follow causing swollen, irritated and painful tooth. Severe infection will cause severe toothache, sensitivity and may even result in abscess formation.
Tooth decay and cavities-
Tooth decay or dental decay is what causes cavities in an individual. Bacteria invade dirty teeth and cause tooth decay which in turn leads to cavities. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth eat away your tooth by releasing acids in the enamel and dentin layer. When you eat sticky, starchy or sugary food, they are left behind in your teeth. Bacteria feed on these sugary foods you eat and make acids. This bacteria acid attacks your teeth, destroying the teeth enamel causing tooth decay. If left not treated, dental decay can lead to severe teeth infection causing pain and even tooth loss. Tooth decay can be simply prevented by regular and proper brushing and flossing and by avoiding eating too much sweat and starchy foods and sodas.
Mild or moderate tooth decay can be reverse back by tooth fillings. If the decay is severe, you may need a root canal treatment and if root canal is not possible, chances are to remove your tooth completely.
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