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Cavities 101 - What Are They? Can You Prevent Them?

Cavities 101 – What Are They? Can You Prevent Them?

the science of smiles best dentist pasadena caEveryone is susceptible to cavities, and I mean everyone.

In fact, they are so common that most people think they have a good understanding of them. Interestingly, that’s not what I see and hear when I talk to some patients at my practice, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to go back to the basics with you.

What is a cavity?

“Cavity” actually refers to the hole in your enamel that is formed when you have caries – the bacterial disease that causes them. When the food we eat interacts with bacteria in our mouths, the result is a chemical reaction which produces an acid which can erode the enamel (outside covering) of a tooth. Eventually, a small hole will form in the tooth’s surface. This is a cavity, and it’s an open door to infection and decay.

What is a root cavity?

For adults, root cavities are a concern. This is when the cavity appears not in the crown of the tooth, but on the root. Years of gum erosion from brushing too hard, as well as from the natural effects of aging, causes gums to recede, making the root vulnerable to acid attacks.

What is a filling cavity?

A filling cavity forms adjacent to the edge of a filling or in the part of a tooth that has been exposed by a broken filling. Sometimes there are micro cracks in older filling material that allow bacteria to seep in and under a filling. You won’t likely notice them, but I can identify them during your checkup.

How can you prevent cavities?

Nutrition is one important component. Tooth decay is promoted by starchy foods like breads, cereals, and crackers which feed bacteria-causing tooth decay. Potentially harmful sugars are found in natural foods such as fruits and fruit drinks, as well as milk, ketchup, salad dressings, and some canned vegetables.

There’s absolutely no mystery to how to prevent cavities. At home, you should brush and floss effectively, eat a balanced diet, and use fluoride toothpaste. And come and see me regularly (at least twice a year) so that together we can monitor your oral health.


THE SCIENCE OF SMILES® offers affordable cosmetic and laser dentistry and gentle, compassionate general dental care in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures, complete dental reconstruction and TMJ/Headache management. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover affordable up-to-date dentistry and a team who truly cares at THE SCIENCE OF SMILES®.