Cavities and Tooth Decay | Smith Dental Nashville

Cavities and Tooth Decay

What are cavities?

Cavities, also known as dental caries, are areas on the hard surface of your teeth that have been permanently damaged. Caused by a variety of factors, these unsightly, sometimes painful holes in your teeth will continue to grow if left untreated.

Causes of dental cavities

Cavities can be caused by a variety of factors, but are most often caused by consuming sugary drinks or snacks and failing to properly brush debris off of the tooth's surface. When food particles remain on the teeth, they turn into an acid that breaks through the tooth's armor (known as enamel) and can cause the tiny holes or pockets known as cavities.

While common, if left untreated, cavities can grow, and affect deeper layers within the mouth causing more trouble, and lead to severe headaches, toothaches, infections and even tooth loss. They are common in young children who don't practice proper brushing techniques, as well as teenagers and older adults who have softened enamel over the years.

Preventing cavities

The best course of treatment to prevent cavities from forming is to practice proper brushing techniques. We recommend brushing after each meal, and flossing once per day, allowing food to be removed from the surface of teeth, as well as in between the hard-to-reach spaces.

Although this is great for day-to-day routines, regular dentist visits are recommended. Our Smyrna dentists and their hygienists have a variety of special tools and viewpoints that help ensure no food has been left behind, and can also help remove tartar buildup on each tooth's surface.

Is it time for your routine dental exam? Get to know Dr. Dani Gray, or schedule a free consultation. We look forward to meeting you.