Cavities and Tooth Decay
What Causes a Cavity?
Your mouth is a busy place with lots going on. Bacteria, germs and small colonies of living organisms are constantly on the move on your teeth, gums, lips and tongue. It’s normal to have bacteria in your mouth however some of the bacteria and most of the bacteria can be and is helpful, however there are some types of bacteria that can be harmful.
Certain types of bacteria attach to the enamel which surrounds the teeth. If the bacteria is not removed they multiply and grow in numbers growing a colony of bacteria. Different types of bacteria attach themselves to the colony which is already growing on the tooth enamel. Proteins that are present in your saliva also mix with the bacteria colony and forms a whitish film on the tooth. The whitish film is called plaque and it’s the plaque that causes cavities.
I Thought Only Kids got Cavities!
A cavity is a very small hole that forms on the tooth. It is caused when sugars in foods you eat mix with bacteria in the mouth which produces a mild acid which eats away the outer layer of a tooth, the outer layer is called enamel.
Cavities are more common during childhood but adult can get cavities to. Adults tend to get two kinds of cavities:
- Recurrent cavities
Fillings that fracture, leak, or are not bonded to the tooth cause separation from the filling and tooth. This allows bacteria to enter between the filling and the tooth structure and can cause re-decay. On Root Cavities, add gum disease which causes recession allows bacteria to attach to the root surface which will cause decay. If Dr. Paros ever finds a cavity he will never watch it, he always advocates that it be replaced with whatever restoration will be appropriate because we do not want to see the decay to worsen. If decay is between teeth it can lead to the adjoining tooth to become decayed as well.
- Root Cavities
Root cavities are caused when your gums recede leaving the root of a tooth exposed and at risk of cavities. Years of brushing to hard can make your gums recede or pull away from the gums. Aging can also make the gums recede. Roots do not have the hard outer layer (enamel) to protect them so it is very easy to get a root cavity if you have exposed roots.
Dr. Paros will check for loose or broken filling on every visit and may suggest replacing some. Dr. Paros will also always check for signs of decay, such as brown or black spots and check to make sure your gums are healthy.
Dr.Paros may want to take an XRay to take a closer look at the problem area.