What are Cavities?


What are cavities?

A cavity is a hole in the tooth formed through the process of dental caries (you may have heard it referred to as ‘tooth decay’). Cavities are the breakdown of tooth enamel and structure due to bacteria in plaque that produce acid attacks on the tooth surface.

Who is at risk for tooth decay?

Tooth decay is heavily influenced by lifestyle including what we eat, how well we take care of our teeth including brushing and flossing, and the use of fluoride in our toothpaste or drinking water.

Risk factors that increase the likelihood of tooth decay include:

  • High sugar diet

  • Dry mouth due to a lack of saliva

  • Not brushing or flossing your teeth correctly

  • Irregular dental check-ups

How do we prevent it?

Our top tips to help prevent cavities are:

  1. Maintain good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing every day. This will help remove plaque that builds up on our teeth. Our dental professionals can help show you the best techniques to look after your teeth.

  2. Eat a well-balanced diet that limits sugary foods and try to reduce the frequency of high-sugar foods if they are part of your diet. For example, avoid sipping on juice or soft drink throughout the day. Try to give your teeth at least 2 hours break between eating or drinking anything (water is fine though). “Consumption of sugary foods and drinks is the #1 cause of Australia’s most preventable health problem—tooth decay”—Dr Rick Olive (Federal President of ADA)

  3. A major preventative measure is the application of fissure sealants to cover any deep grooves in teeth, and prevent bacteria causing acid attacks in these areas which can already be hard to clean.

  4. Drink tap water when you can because it has fluoride in it.

  5. Make sure you get your regular dental check-up every 6 months.

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