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Most people don’t go to the dentist hoping to be told they have a cavity. We know that cavities are bad. But do you know how cavities form? If you know what contributes to cavity formation, you can better stop them from happening.

Basically, cavities form due to acidic erosion of the enamel. Acids mostly come from two sources: food and drink, and bacteria. Let’s take a look at bacteria first.

There are hundreds of kinds of bacteria that live in your mouth. Also called “microflora,” these bacteria coalesce into a sticky film called plaque. The plaque feeds on the sugars in the food particles left in your mouth and on your teeth. In the process of their life, the bacteria produce an acid that covers the tooth and begins to erode the enamel. As this process continues, eventually a hole (called a cavity) forms. The hole in the enamel can expose the inner layers of the tooth to infection. The inner pulp and dentin store the nerve endings and other soft tissues necessary for the tooth to stay alive. As those vital tissues are exposed to infection and decay, tooth failure can result.

Acids do not only come from bacteria; they can also come in the form of foods and drinks. Eating sticky, acidic, sweet food such as candy is particularly damaging, as the acids and sugars both stay on the teeth and are hard to clean off. The sugar feeds the bacteria that erode enamel and the acids erode the enamel directly. Also, avoid acidic drinks such as wine, energy drinks and most sports drinks.

For more information, call Ninth East Dental in Provo, Utah, at 801-854-9140. Dr. Huang, Dr. Huang, and our team look forward to helping you!