What Are Cavities and How to Prevent Them

Sugar cubes arranged as a tooth, brown sugar decay

​Have you ever had a small black dot on one of your teeth that you haven’t been able to scrape off? You might want to get that checked out. It could be a cavity. Cavities are damaged parts of your teeth that develop into holes. If left untreated, cavities can grow and affect more of your teeth and mouth. Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth, which typically comes from eating sugary foods and not cleaning your teeth properly. A cavity is a form of tooth decay and should be taken very seriously.

Am I at risk?

To be straightforward, yes. Children are the most prone to getting cavities, but adults are also at risk. Children can start developing cavities at a very young age, so frequent dentist visits are very important. More than half of children develop cavities in the baby (primary) teeth between the ages of 2 and 11. Some children can show signs of tooth decay even earlier than this, so visiting the dentist before their first birthday can help prevent problems in the future.

What do cavities feel like?

At first, nothing. While the cavity is in its early stages, you probably won’t even know it’s there. You might start feeling sensitivity and pain once the cavity has reached the soft tissues inside your tooth. There are no nerves in your enamel, which is why you can’t feel anything at first. If nobody has caught your cavity early, schedule a visit as soon as you start feeling pain or sense that something is wrong. You’d rather be safe than sorry!

How do I prevent them?

The best way to prevent cavities is to maintain good oral hygiene. Brush and floss at least twice a day to remove dangerous plaque and bacteria. You should also visit the dentist frequently. Cavities begin to develop below the tooth’s surface where you can’t see them. Your dentist will be able to catch them early and treat them before further complications arise. Other helpful habits include decreasing your consumption of sugary or starchy foods. You should also be sure to use dental products and drink water that contain fluoride.

Now that you know what cavities are and what to do about them, you have nothing to worry about. Nothing is 100 percent preventable, but knowing the signs and symptoms will help you solve the problem the right way!

For more information about cavities or if you have any other questions, call us today at 724-220-2347.

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on January 6th, 2020