Cavities: How they occur and how to prevent them

One of the most common dental problems is cavities. Nearly all adults in the UK have cavities to some degree, and many children have cavities in their milk teeth. This is despite the fact that the causes of cavities are well-known (poor dental hygiene, sugar, fizzy drinks and acidic foods).

Given that cavities are so common, what can we do to prevent them? Don’t worry: in this post, we’ll go over the basics of how to prevent cavities, as well as how cavities develop if you don’t do anything to stop them.

The stages of cavities

  • Stage 1. In the first stage of a cavity, only the enamel of the tooth is affected. You won’t feel any pain at this stage. In fact, it can be difficult to tell that you even have a cavity at all. It’s easy to see why then many patients make the mistake of letting the cavity grow until it starts causing pain. Instead, it’s much better to go to the dentist when you first notice signs of cavities, because then you can get them treated quickly. One early sign of cavities to watch out for is white, brown or black staining on your teeth. Another sign is pain or any unusual feeling in your mouth.
  • Stage 2. In the second stage, cavities attack the dentin of your teeth, which is the substance under your enamel that makes up most of your teeth. When cavities have reached this stage, they usually become painful.
  • Stage 3. If you haven’t seen the dentist by this point, then the cavity will reach the third stage, which is where the cavity grows until it reaches the pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth. The pulp is also where the veins and nerves are found.
  • Stage 4. If you still don’t see a dentist, then the cavity will continue to grow until it reaches the tissue that holds the tooth in place. At this point, the pain will be very bad and you may lose the tooth.

How to prevent cavities

Now you know what it’s like to have cavities, you’ll probably want to know how to prevent them. Here are the main things you can do to prevent getting a cavity:

  • Keep your teeth clean. To prevent cavities, it’s important to maintain a good dental hygiene routine. This means brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. It’s also good to brush your teeth after eating a meal or snack that’s high in sugar or starch.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. Another important thing to do to prevent cavities is to see a dentist regularly, at least once a year. A dentist will look for early signs of cavities and will also give your teeth a thorough cleaning.
  • Use fluoride. Fluoride helps to prevent cavities and it’s found in most toothpastes and some mouthwashes. This mineral helps to strengthen your enamel and makes your teeth more resistance against bacteria.

If you’d like to see one our dentists about cavities, book an appointment by calling us on 020 8882 3180. We’re looking forward to seeing you!