junk food causing tooth cavity

What is a Tooth Cavity?

As a child, you probably have experienced a tooth cavity, once or twice. In fact, 90% of Americans have had a cavity, according to the CDC. Some believe that you cannot get cavities when you’re older, which is not true. A 2015 study found that 1 in 4 adults have cavities that are untreated.  

Types of Tooth Cavities

There are several different types of cavities to be aware of. The most common is the coronal cavity, which is located on chewing surfaces or between the teeth. There are also root cavities. As we age, our gums recede, leaving the root of the tooth exposed causing cavities.  

What Causes Tooth Cavities?

Cavities are caused by what we eat. Foods with carbohydrates, such as bread, milk, soda, fruit, candy and cereal, may leave residue on your teeth if not cleaned right away. Because each tooth has between 1,000 to 100,000 cells of bacteria normally, the bacteria turns carbohydrates into acid. Acid, combined with bacteria, saliva and food debris, creates plaque that dissolves your tooth’s enamel, the outer shell that protects the pulp and nerve. Thus, the plaque forms a hole or break in the surface of your tooth, called a cavity.  

Once a cavity forms, unfortunately, it won’t go away simply by brushing your teeth. Many people experience sensitivity to hot, cold, sweet or sour food and drinks when they have a cavity because the sensitive layers are less shielded, especially from the pressure of normal chewing. However, only a dentist will truly know for certain if you have a cavity or not.  

What To Do If You Think You Have a Cavity

Taking care of your teeth as soon as a problem arises can help you save money on your dentist’s bill because the dentist will be restoring your tooth rather than replacing it with a new one. Regular check-ups every six months also help prevent cavities from forming.