What causes cavities?

Have you been asking yourself what causes cavities

A question asked by many patients

As one of the longest established local dentists in Liverpool we are asked a lot of questions about dental health. Extremely often these questions centre around cavities.

Baffled patients that look after their teeth want to know ‘What causes cavities? What did I miss?’.

When a child needs a filling, very often their parent will ask ‘What are the signs of cavities? Is there a warning sign I could look out for in future?’.

We thought we’d take this post to address those two questions, providing you with a bit of guidance about cavity causes, signs and – most importantly – prevention.

Question 1 – What causes cavities

Cavities are caused by bacteria that feed on sugars. Therefore the easiest answer to the question of ‘what causes cavities?’ is sugar.

Sugar left in the mouth will feed this cavity causing bacteria which, in turn, will create the acid plaque that causes holes in the outer layers of the teeth. We call these holes cavities.

Usually when people ask us ‘What causes cavities?’ they don’t want the scientific explanation. They are asking what it is about their diet and lifestyle, or that of their children, that has caused them to develop a cavity.

Generally the answer is a combination of diet and dental hygiene.

If you want to avoid cavities look at your dental hygiene routine.

Do your brush thoroughly and often? Do you floss and use mouthwash? If you don’t do these things twice a day then it’s a good idea to start. If you do, great. To be doubly protected from cavities take a look at your diet.

How many high sugar foods and drinks pass through your mouth? Do you drink a lot of soda? Do you eat sweets, chocolate, or even a lot of dried fruit? If so, it’s a great idea to simply swill your mouth with water after you eat them, to limit the amount of sugar left on your teeth.

If you can brush after consuming sugar all the better (though we know that’s not often convenient).

Question 2 – What are the signs of cavities?

Tooth pain and sensitivity are the most obvious signs that you may have a cavity, or at least that there is something going on in your mouth that you may want to ask your dentist to check out.

If you notice pain when you bite, or if you have a persistent tooth pain, that is the time to make a dental appointment. Another sign of cavities can be staining or dark patches on the teeth.

If you want to know more about what causes cavities or you think you may need a filling, contact your local dentist in Liverpool and make an appointment.

We have been serving families of the Childwall community of over four decades and would be very happy to treat you.