Caries, also known as cavity or tooth decay, is one of the most common dental diseases. Anyone can get caries, including infants, teenagers, and adults. If not treated earlier, caries tends to expand with time and affect the deeper layers of the teeth. It can cause toothaches, infection, and even tooth loss. Experts at Peninsula Center of Cosmetic Dentistry believe that the following are the most prevalent causes of dental caries:
After you consume foods and drinks, the normal bacteria in your mouth combine with acids and food fragments. This creates a layer of sticky film known as plaque. Plaque needs to be removed regularly by brushing and flossing; otherwise, it can build up or harden into a substance known as tartar. Tartar makes it harder for you to remove plaque and creates a shield for the bacteria.
The acids in plaque possess the ability to destroy minerals present in your tooth's outer enamel. This erosion of minerals causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel that are known as dental cavities. Once the hole is formed, the acid and bacteria reach the next layer of your tooth, known as dentin. Since it is softer than enamel, this layer is more prone to acid damage that further worsens caries.
Risk Factors for Dental Caries
Everyone is at risk of getting dental cavities, but the following factors can increase the risk substantially:
ConsumingSugary Foods and Drinks
Sugary foods that cling to your teeth for a long time can cause tooth decay. These include milk, sugar, honey, ice cream, cake, dried fruit, cookies, cereal, candies, soda, and chips.
Lack of Fluoride
Fluoride is a mineral that aids in cavity prevention. You can find it in mouthwashes and toothpaste. Fluoride treatments can reverse the initial signs of tooth damage. A lack of fluoride can lead to tooth decay and weak bones.
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are risk factors for tooth decay. The acid from the stomach of a person with an eating disorder washes over the teeth because of repeated vomiting (purging) and dissolves the teeth enamel.
Do not ignore tooth decay. Please schedule an appointment with us today by calling us at (650) 949-3376 as soon as you start feeling the symptoms. We can treat your cavity before it eats away at your tooth and prevent your tooth from complete damage.