Cavities and Tooth Decay

Cavities are caused by damage from tooth decay. Decay is caused when sugary or carbohydrate-heavy foods stay on your teeth. The bacteria in your mouth turns leftover food into acid, which then becomes plaque that dissolves the enamel of your teeth, creating cavities. 

Many people think only children get cavities, but people of any age can get a cavity, depending on their daily routine and diet. In fact, the older you get the more likely it is for a cavity to eventually develop into something more severe, such as gum disease. Only a dentist can diagnose and treat cavities. For help finding a local dental professional, search for a dentist near you.

Common Symptoms Of A Cavity

The symptoms of cavities vary depending on how long you’ve had them, where they are located, and how severe they are. Cavities may initially have little or no symptoms at all, but over time as the decay starts to spread, signs and symptoms may arise such as:

  • Black or brown staining on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain with movement of jaw
  • Visible holes in the teeth
  • Spontaneous toothaches
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Sharp pain when eating or drinking

The best way to determine if you have a cavity is by making an appointment with your dentist. They can then review your symptoms, make an accurate diagnosis and give you their recommended treatment plan.

How To Prevent Cavities

You can help prevent cavities from forming by practicing a healthy oral care routine including brushing your teeth and gums twice a day and flossing once a day. Having a professional cleaning twice a year will also help. Other tips include:

  • Use fluoride mouthwash and toothpaste
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Avoid frequent snacking
  • Avoid sugary foods and/or drinks
  • Ask about antibacterial treatments
  • Ask about fluoride treatments

Possible Ways To Treat Cavities

Treatment depends on how advanced the cavity is. Most often, the dentist removes the decayed portion of your tooth with a drill. He/she fills in the hole with a filling made of either silver alloy, gold, porcelain, or a composite resin. Other treatments include:

Who Treats Cavities?

Regular checkups and cleanings with your dentist can identify cavities before they cause symptoms and lead to more serious problems. The sooner you seek dental care, the better your chances of stopping and reversing the earliest stages of tooth decay. If a cavity is treated before it starts causing symptoms, you probably won’t need extensive treatment. To find a dental office near you, visit our locations page.