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What Causes Cavities?

What Causes Cavities?

Dentists see plenty of cavities from patients of every age. The best way to avoid these oral health issues is to understand what causes them. Keep reading to learn more about what causes cavities so you can work to prevent them and maintain a healthy, beautiful smile:

Saliva, Plaque, and Bacteria

Everyone has saliva, plaque, and bacteria in their mouths at all times. Saliva is designed to help clear out food and other particles that could otherwise cause issues. It also is full of minerals that can actually strengthen your teeth. Saliva is an important tool to fight against acid and bacteria. Plaque is a sticky substance that coats the teeth. Although everyone has plaque, if you let too much of it grow in your mouth, it could lead to cavities and decay. Everyone has a certain amount of good and bad bacteria in their mouth. If you do not take care of your teeth, though, the bad bacteria will start to outnumber the good.

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Bad Bacteria Growth

The bad bacteria must eat food to live and to spread. If your diet consists largely of sugary, starchy foods, you are giving these bad bacteria the fuel that they need to multiply. Once bacteria get this food, they can start to create acid, which destroys tooth enamel and will eventually lead to decay and cavities.

Cavities

As the acid breaks down the strong outer layer of the tooth, it also removes calcium and phosphate crystals that are located inside of the tooth. Without the proper care, the decay continues to grow and spread until it eventually breaks through the enamel, which leads to a cavity. If you already have a cavity, you must schedule an appointment with your Atlanta dentist to get a filling that will prevent further decay.

Proper oral hygiene can help you prevent cavities and rotten teeth. You should brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. This helps you remove food and plaque before they can wear down the teeth and lead to cavities.