What Causes Dental Cavities?

The dental cavity can be everyone’s nightmare, especially if the cavity happens to be in a visible place. There are options, like porcelain fillings, but those can be expensive. Cavities can be signs of worse things to come, says Dr. Sid Solomon, so it may be a good idea to address them as soon as possible. Here are some of the underlying causes that contribute to cavities.

The Three Causes

Plaque – Dental plaque is a sticky thin film that adheres to your teeth. It comes from eating sugars and starches and failing to clean off all of the residue from your teeth. This residue can eventually harden into tartar, which is even more difficult to remove. Ultimately, plaque acts like a shield for bacteria and that’s bad for your oral health. Routine cleanings will help remove it.

Acids – Plaque contains acids that erode the enamel on your teeth, which allows for tiny holes to open on the surface of your teeth. This worn away layer is even less resistant to acid, so the damage essentially snowballs the longer it’s left untreated.

Dry Mouth – Saliva helps prevent tooth decay, so a lack of saliva leaves your mouth open to attack. If you’re on medications or have a condition that reduces your saliva, talk to your dentist and doctor for advice.

Heartburn – If stomach acid flows into your mouth during heartburn, it could be slowly eating away at the enamel on your teeth. The damage could be extensive over time, so be sure to check with your doctor to treat chronic heartburn and avoid this unnecessary wear.