What causes cavities?

Even the cleanest mouth is home to numerous bacteria, some helpful and some harmful. Certain types of bacteria attach to tooth enamel, forming a colony that other kinds of bacteria can join. Combined with proteins in your saliva to form a white film known as plaque, this bacterial colony can set the stage for cavities.

Tooth enamel is a very hard substance, but it contains mineral salts that are susceptible to being dissolved by acids. If the plaque on your teeth is not brushed away, the bacteria’s digestive processes create acids that attack the enamel. Sugar makes this problem worse, because it provides an easy source of energy for bacteria, as well as a source for the glue they produce to stick themselves to the teeth.

As the enamel dissolves, creating small cavities, the bacteria are able to invade further into the tooth structure. Over time, they can create large colonies that take over the tooth and even reach into the root. At this point, a root canal is generally necessary. Eventually, the damage becomes too severe and the tooth must be extracted.

Another common entry point for bacteria is an older metal filling. Because the filling material does not tightly bond to the tooth like modern white fillings, the seal between the filling and the tooth can fail. This allows bacteria to penetrate the inner structures of the tooth without tunneling through the enamel.

Conveniently located in Woodbury, MN, Creekview Dental provides a progressive yet conservative approach to dental care. Our innovative, highly personalized procedures are focused on maintaining tooth structure and providing you with the healthy, beautiful smile you deserve. Call us today at 651-738-8204 to take the first steps on the road to better dental health.