Cavity Formation and Acid Erosion

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Cavities are holes that form in the outer layer of your tooth (called enamel). The holes are dangerous, because they can expose the nerve endings and other soft tissues located inside the tooth, putting the tooth at risk for failure. These tooth holes form primarily due to acid erosion. Acid can come from both food and drink, as well as from the bacteria in your mouth.

The bacteria that live in your mouth coalesce to form a sticky film called plaque. The bacteria of the plaque eat the sugars that are in your mouth (from leftover food particles and drinks). The bacteria then use those sugars, which creates an acidic byproduct, which eats away at tooth enamel, forming a cavity.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent acid erosion in your mouth. Your body’s first natural defense is saliva, therefore stimulating saliva production is helpful to fighting cavities.

You can also fight cavities by brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes per session. Wait for 30 minutes after eating before brushing. The acids in food softens enamel, and brushing in that state can actually damage your teeth. Try chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating to prepare the mouth for brushing.

For more information, call Dr. Samuel D. Knight in Farr West, Utah, at 801-731-3200. Our team looks forward to making your smile radiant!