What Are Cavities (Dental Caries)?

Cavities, also known as dental caries, are the result of tooth decay, which is the damage that occurs when bacteria in your mouth create acids that eat away at your tooth.


Food debris cling to your teeth and the bacteria in your mouth turn that debris into acids. The acids from the bacteria in plaque dissolve your tooth enamel, which can create holes in your teeth called cavities.

Tip #1: Use Flouride

Use fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing, sometimes even reversing it or stopping it in its tracks. Fluoride helps prevent mineral loss while replacing minerals your teeth may have already lost. You can drink fluoridated water or simply use a fluoride mouth rinse or toothpaste as part of a total tooth care package.

Tip #2: Watch What You Eat And Drink

Watch what you eat. Easier said than done, right? Well remember—every time you eat or drink something that contains sugar or starches, the bacteria in your mouth have a bonanza. Limit candy, cookies, soda and other sugar treats for special occasions, and don't eat or drink anything sugary after brushing your teeth at night. Your teeth will be able to better repair themselves that way.

Tip #3: Brush Twice A Day, Every Day

Brush the bacteria away. You know the rule—twice per day, every day. It's the easiest way to make sure your teeth are getting clean and getting the care they deserve. If you feel brushing and flossing aren't enough, ask your dentist about sealants. Don't forget to visit your dentist for regular check-ups while you're at it.

Learn more about sugar acid and the role it plays in tooth decay

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