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What are Cavities and How Do They Form?

Long Island Smileexamining mouth with cavity fillings in Williston Park, NY.Cavities are one of the most common dental issues, affecting millions of individuals. While they are frequently associated with children, they can affect individuals of all ages. A vast majority of adults have developed at least one cavity in a permanent tooth in their lifetime. At Long Island Smile, we can provide the treatment you need to restore your oral health. We can also help you to understand how cavities form and what you can do to prevent them.

The Substances in Your Mouth

To understand how cavities form, it is important to understand what substances are present in your mouth. These are just a few of the substances present.
•  Saliva. Saliva helps to keep your entire mouth, as well as your teeth, moist. It is an essential fluid in your mouth. It helps to break down the foods you eat so that your body can more easily digest it. It helps to wash away food particles and bacteria. It is also essential neutralizing acids and keeping your mouth at a balanced pH.
•  Plaque. Plaque is a substance that accumulates on the surfaces of your teeth throughout the day. It forms when bacteria cling to your teeth and begin multiplying. It is a sticky, acidic substance that collects more bacteria and grows thicker.
•  Bacteria. There are many different types of bacteria in your mouth. Some of these bacteria are good and help to eliminate bad bacteria. The bacteria most responsible for cavities is Streptococcus mutans. It sticks easily to the surfaces of your teeth and produces harmful acids that erode your enamel.

How Do I Get Cavities?

A cavity is a small pit that forms on the surface of your tooth. This pit develops as a result of tooth decay. However, how does tooth decay occur? While your teeth are the strongest substance in your body, the acids produced by plaque and bacteria can erode the enamel layer. This erosion leads to weak spots. Over time, these weak spots eventually give way to cavities. While decay can be reversed, cavities cannot. They are irreversible damage that needs to be addressed right away.

Types of Cavities

There are a few different types of cavities. These include:
•  Pit and fissure cavities. These types of cavities are found on the chewing surfaces of your molars, more specifically in the crevices on these surfaces. These cavities often form because the chewing surfaces of the molars are more difficult to clean properly. Small pit and fissure cavities can be treated with fillings, but larger ones may require an inlay, onlay, or a crown.
•  Root cavities. A root cavity is one that forms on the root surface of a tooth. These types of cavities are more common in adults.
•  Smooth surface cavities. A smooth surface cavity is one that forms on the side of the tooth, on the flat surface. These cavities grow slowly and are typically easy to treat.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

While cavities can be treated, they can also be prevented. It is important that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes as well as floss your teeth at least once a day. You should also have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined twice a year. There are also treatments such as fluoride treatments and sealants, which can help to provide you with additional protection.

Cavities might be a common issue, but they can be treated as well as prevented. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Long Island Smile at (516) 243-7473 today.
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Long Island Smile | | (516) 243-7473
101 Hillside Avenue, Suite A, Williston Park, NY 11596