Photo of Smile

Cavities and Tooth Decay

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay and cavities are caused by long-term destructive forces acting on tooth structures including enamel of the outer tooth surface and the tooth’s inner dentin material.

Frequent exposure to foods rich in sugar and carbohydrates including soda, candy, ice cream and milk can cause tooth decay and cavities. When these materials are left inside your mouth due to non-brushing and flossing, bacteria build into a harmful, colourless and sticky substance known as plaque. Plaque, combined with leftover food particles in your mouth, forms harmful acids destroying enamel and other tooth structures. If cavities aren’t treated early, they can lead to more serious problems requiring treatments such as root canal therapy.

Preventing Cavities

The best defence against cavities is good oral hygiene, including brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing and rinsing. Your body’s saliva is an excellent cavity fighter as it contains chemicals that rinse away harmful materials. Chewing sugarless gum will help stimulate saliva production between brushing.

Special sealants and varnishes can also be applied to prevent cavities from forming. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have a cavity:

    • Unusual sensitivity to hot and cold water or foods
    • A localized pain in your tooth or near your gum line
    • Teeth change colour
    • Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Baby bottle tooth decay is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices as they combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth. If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby’s future primary teeth and later hamper proper formation of their permanent teeth.

One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to avoid nursing your baby as they fall asleep. Encouraging your toddler to drink from a cup early on will help prevent problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.