According to the World Health Organization, cavities are the most common infectious disease in the world. They affect both children and adults and are generally linked to poor oral hygiene.
How cavities form
Our mouths contain bacteria that thrive in dental plaque, a whitish or yellowish biofilm. Plaque also contains saliva and food particles. Bacteria digest sugars, producing an acid that demineralizes tooth enamel, leading to the formation of cavities.
Plaque forms naturally every day, which is why it’s so important to brush your teeth daily.
Types of cavities
Although cavities are more common in children, they can also occur in adults.
Cavities in adults:
- Recurring cavity: Usually forms around a filling
- Root cavity: Forms on the exposed root of a tooth
Treatment and prevention
When a cavity is detected early, the dentist can use fluorinated agents and medical measures to remineralize the enamel. If the cavity has reached the dentin, the cavity must be filled. If the pulp inside the tooth has been affected, a surgical approach is required, such as a root canal.
Prevention is the best strategy for maintaining good oral health. Good oral hygiene, healthy eating habits and regular dental check-ups are important.
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