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little girl showing cavity symptoms

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a hole formed from decaying enamel. Enamel is the hard protective layer on top of your teeth. It can be weakened by acid over time. Cavities occur when foods with carbohydrates get trapped between your teeth and aren’t removed with brushing or flossing. Bacteria then builds up and produces acidity that breaks down enamel.

Cavity Symptoms

Sometimes there are no symptoms as a cavity is forming so it’s important to visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and a dental exam. If you experience any of the following symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist right away.

  1. You have a toothache
    Toothaches are most commonly caused by forming cavities. Keep in mind toothaches can also be caused by sinus infections. If your health has remained the same and a toothache comes on suddenly, it’s likely a cavity.
  2. You have a sensitive spot
    Having sensitive teeth does not always mean it’s a cavity, but if you’re experiencing pain when eating something acidic, hot, cold, or sweet, it could be a cavity. These types of food and drinks tend to stimulate the nerves inside your teeth, causing pain.
  3. You can see the cavity
    As cavities form, they start as a small white spot on your tooth. As it gets worse it can turn brown or black and get deeper into your tooth.

Ways to Prevent Cavities

Preventing cavities is ongoing but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some things you can do to prevent cavities.

  • Brush thoroughly – It’s recommended to brush your teeth twice a day, but if you’re struggling with cavities, brushing after every meal may help. Be sure to use a toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Limit your sugar intake – Sugary foods such as candy and soda helps bacteria thrive in your mouth. Sticky candy can stay in your mouth for longer and cause even more tooth decay.
  • Floss daily – Flossing gets out all those food particles that get stuck in between your teeth. If those food particles aren’t removed, bacteria builds up and causes cavities. In addition to flossing, use a mouth wash to prevent plaque build-up.
  • Use Fluoride products – Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay so make sure your oral hygiene products contain fluoride.
  • Visit your dentist – See your dentist twice a year for cleanings. Even with proper oral hygiene, plaque can still build up. This can only be removed by a dental professional.