The Truth About Cavities

woman with contemplative expressionIf you’ve never felt the discomfort of a cavity, then you might not consider the condition a major concern. After all, you brush your teeth twice or more every day, and you’re careful not to indulge in too many sweets or sugary drinks. Nevertheless, a good hygiene routine and a healthy fear of sugar aren’t necessarily a guarantee against tooth decay—the disease that leads to cavity development. By understanding how they form, you can better protect your teeth from destructive cavities to preserve your healthy, natural smile.

Sugar Isn’t the Only Danger

Because of the countless warnings that many of us received as children about candy rotting our teeth, many patients believe that sugar is the main, and only relevant, reason for your teeth to cavities. The truth, however, is that sugar is only a small part of the tooth decay equation. The real culprit lies within the hundreds of kinds of bacteria that contribute to dental plaque; mainly Streptococcus mutans. When you consume sugar, starch, or other fermentable carbohydrates, S. mutans converts the nutrients into acids that break down the enamel protecting your teeth. Poor hygiene and careless eating habits can allow bacteria to produce overwhelming amounts of acid, and eventually, your tooth enamel will dissolve until it can no longer protect your teeth from infectious bacteria.

They’re More Preventable Than You May Realize

Once enamel is compromised and bacteria infect your tooth’s main structure (called dentin), tooth decay will immediately begin to erode your tooth’s structure, leaving holes called cavities in its wake. Before enamel is compromised, Dr. Pizzi can recommend fluoride treatments and other preventive measures to help bolster your teeth’s protective layer and reduce your risk of cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice every day will control the bacteria population in your mouth, thereby inhibiting the amount of acids they produce and minimizing your chances of cavity development. Dr. Pizzi also recommends attending a dental checkup and cleaning at least twice every year for a comprehensive examination and a greater chance of preventing cavities.

ABOUT YOUR SHREWSBURY DENTISTS:

At Modern Dentistry, Todd A. Pizzi, DDS, and Luciana Messina, DDS, are dedicated to providing high-quality cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dentistry services to patients and families in Shrewsbury, Worcester, North and South Grafton, Westborough, Southborough, Northborough, Boylston, Hopkinton, Millbury, and all surrounding communities. To schedule your next appointment, contact our office by calling (508) 842-6356 today.