Brookfield Family Dentistry: Thomas Tang, DDS

How Do Cavities Form?

By Dr.Thomas Tang on June 27, 2015

A man with a toothachePatients of Dr. Thomas Tang know that they can count on his expertise and insight. A leading dentist in the Brookfield area, Dr. Tang offers comprehensive dental care services to address tooth decay, gum disease, and more.

Many patients who come to the practice have cavities but do not have a good understanding of what cavities actually are. Let's use this post to explore the matter in a bit more detail.

Oral Bacteria Is the Main Source of Tooth Decay

When it comes to cavities, the primary culprit is oral bacteria. This bacteria naturally occurs in everyone's mouths, and it is the same bacteria that is responsible for bad breath and gum disease as well. Even though the bacteria is natural, poor oral hygiene practices can mean major issues for your overall dental health.

The oral bacteria likes to feed on food particles in the mouth. When the bacteria does this, it creates an acidic substance that eats into the tooth structure, damaging enamel and potentially reaching into the dentin layer over time. This is what a cavity is.

The Role of Plaque and Tartar

Plaque is a special biofilm that is created by the oral bacteria in order to stick onto the surface of a tooth. With plaque in place, the oral bacteria can remain where food accumulates and feast on food particles as much as it wants. Tartar (aka dental calculus) is a hardened form of plaque that's rough and offers an ideal surface on which bacteria can remain.

Sugar Really Is Bad for Your Teeth

Oral bacteria particularly enjoys carbs and sugars caught on the teeth. Remember how your parents told you that too much candy and soda can cause your teeth to rot? In a lot of ways, they're right, which is why snacking on junk food can increase your chances of developing cavities.

Why Cavities Are Bad

If a cavity goes untreated, the oral bacteria can eventually access the interior portions of a tooth. This is the pulp chamber, in which soft tissue is contained. This tissue can become infected, resulting in serious pain and an abscess as well. Spread of the infection can lead to serious health issues.

In addition to the threat of tooth infection, cavities can also make teeth weaker and more likely to break from regular biting and chewing. This is why cavities have to be take seriously no matter what.

Treatment Options for Tooth Decay

To treat tooth decay, the best option to consider is the use of a dental restoration. This will involve the removal of any damaged tooth structure and the placement of a restoration to rebuild the damaged tooth structure. For minor cavities and tooth decay, a dental filling is a good option. For more serious decay, inlays, onlays, and crowns are more ideal.

Dentists will always strive to save teeth from the need for extraction and attempt to maintain as much of the patient's natural tooth structure as possible.

How to Prevent Cavities from Forming

To prevent cavity formation, consider these simple tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss your teeth at least once a night
  • Avoid snacking on sugary foods
  • Avoid drinking soda
  • Drink water to remain hydrated through the day
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups

Schedule a Dental Visit with Dr. Thomas Tang

To learn more about treating tooth decay and also how to prevent it, it's important that you contact our cosmetic and restorative dentistry center today. Dr. Thomas Tang will help you have the healthiest and most beautiful smile possible.

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Brookfield Office

17185 W North Ave
Brookfield, WI 53005

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