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You often hear that certain products or procedures help to prevent dental cavities, but what are cavities, and what causes them? Cavities are holes or pits in a tooth where bacteria has literally eaten away the enamel and the dentin, leaving a gap. Allowed to continue, cavities can lead to pain and even tooth loss.
There are many causes of tooth decay and cavities. The primary cause is bacteria left to accumulate and fester in the mouth. Everyone has some bacteria in their mouth, but regular dental cavity prevention techniques, such as twice-daily brushing and flossing, can help to keep cavities at bay. We are fortunate in Atlanta to have some fluoride in our water; however, be aware that if you use water filters, fluoride is removed.
Tooth decay symptoms include pain, bad breath and discomfort when eating cold or sweet foods. Tooth decay pain is generally one of the last symptoms of a cavity and usually doesn’t manifest itself until the decay is somewhat advanced. That’s why regular exams by a dentist are so important. Good cavity prevention includes scheduling routine exams at least once every six months.
When caught early, a dentist can fill those gaps and stop their spread. Cavity fillings replace the lost enamel and dentin and give your tooth a smooth, natural feel again.