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What Is A Cavity?

Updated: Aug 27, 2019

In it’s simplest terms a cavity is a hole in your tooth. However, when most people think of a cavity they are thinking of tooth decay like a broken tooth, erosion or other fractures. When asked, these same groups of people would also assume that too much sugar can be the cause of cavities, and in some sense there is truth to that, the reality is that cavities are mainly caused by bacteria in the mouth.


We all have bacteria in our mouths at all times, some bacteria is good as having healthy bacteria contributes to good overall health. Other bacteria like streptococcus can cause the cavities in your teeth. It is true that reducing surgery drinks and refined foods lowers the ability of getting a cavity, but that doesn’t mean cutting them out of your diet entirely. For example; if we take twin teenagers… The first one drinks six cans of pop in two hours, and then rinses their mouth with water and brushes their teeth. The second teenage sips a single can of pop over five hours and doesn’t brush their teeth afterwards. In this scenario, the second teenager would be much more likely to cause cavities. The slow and constant drip of sipping over a long period of time will feed the bacteria. That’s a bit surprising as most would assume that the first twin would be more likely to get a cavity.


One of the best things to do when consuming sugar slowly is to neutralize the bacteria acid with a good flow of saliva. An example of this is to chew sugar free gum. The chewing action promotes saliva flow which balances the bacteria acid in your mouth and allows the teeth enamel to survive. Brushing and flossing is more important for gum disease, but diet and sugar intake is more important for avoiding decay and cavities.


So what does the dentist do when he or she finds a filing? They fill it up. Fillings are made from composite resin. You can place silver fillings or gold fillings or porcelain but composite resin is the bulk of it for sure. It is a putty, and you condition the tooth and apply a bond so that the filling will stick. You pack in the putty and you shape it and shine a light on it. The composite resin sets and firms up under the light. The good thing is that an average, filling a cavity can be as simple as a 20 minute appointment.


There is general assumption that the process will cause pain and this can create a sense of anxiousness and nervousness, especially among young children, but having a cavity repaired is not that scary and there’s really no need to be nervous. If you are in the Woodbridge or Vaughan area and have any more questions or would like more information, feel free to contact us at Aberdeen Dentistry. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and having a better understanding about the process will ensure that you are more comfortable.


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