According to the latest government report card, Australian adults have on average 12.8 decayed, missing or filled teeth, meaning at some point most adults have experienced a cavity.
In fact, treating cavities and filling them is one of the most common tasks a dentist performs, but often the cavity is avoidable in the first place.
So how exactly is a cavity formed, and what can be done to prevent them?
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a hole in your tooth that is most often caused by decay. Cavities can form in the biting surfaces of a tooth, between teeth or even on the surface of a tooth root.
Treating them involves removing any decay from the tooth and then filling the hole to ensure no further decay can build up in that area, and the cavity does not increase to weaken the actual tooth.
How cavities form
Cavities most often start their life due to plaque. Basically, every time we eat a thin residue is left on our teeth that can build up over time. This plaque then further reacts with the sugars we consume in food which creates an acid that attacks the surface of the teeth.
The acid eventually weakens the enamel of the tooth, which allows a hole or cavity to form. If left untreated, cavities cause the tooth to further decay, which can cause it to weaken, crack, become painful and ultimately lead to tooth loss.
Although they are common, cavities are largely preventable through good dental hygiene and regular dental check-ups.
Good dental hygiene involves brushing your teeth twice daily to remove the food debris that creates a film on your teeth, allowing plaque to form.
Teeth should also be flossed once a day to access those harder to reach areas between them.
Another way to help prevent cavities is by embracing a healthy diet which sees you avoid many of the sugars that react to plaque. This includes limiting the consumption of lollies, soft drinks and foods which are likely to leave a sticky, sugary residue on your teeth.
Meanwhile, regularly visiting your dentist, as in at least once a year, can also help prevent cavities forming or limit the impact of tooth decay.
Sooner rather than later
If you suspect you have a hole in your tooth or you have a tooth which is causing you pain, it’s important you see a dentist sooner rather than later.
When detected early, most cavities can be treated using common dental procedures like fillings, but should treatment be delayed they can lead to more invasive procedures like root canals or even tooth loss.
About Grand Dental
Servicing the Blue Mountains region, Grand Dental is conveniently located in Lawson.
Our practice is committed to first class dentistry in an unhurried environment. Our mission is to make a positive difference in your life through personalised dentistry of the highest quality.
With services ranging from general and children’s dentistry to orthodontics, implants and cosmetic dentistry, we provide a full suite of dental services that cater to the entire family.