Your teeth are protected by a layer of tooth enamel which is the hardest substance in the body. Directly underneath the tooth enamel is a much softer substance called dentine that is more easily eroded. If tooth enamel is damaged, then you are more at risk of developing a cavity in a tooth. This damage can occur as a result of acid erosion, or if you have any chips or cracks in your enamel that have not been mended.
How Do Cavities Develop?
Every time you eat carbohydrate-rich foods or foods that are high in sugars, the bacteria in your mouth will use them as an energy source, producing acid as a by-product. After eating, your mouth will typically remain more acidic for half an hour to an hour afterwards. These bacteria will also combine with the acid, as well as food debris and saliva to produce a sticky substance called plaque. The acid in plaque gradually dissolves the enamel, before beginning to eat away at the dentine, eventually causing holes or cavities in your teeth.
You can develop cavities or tooth decay at any age which is why a good oral hygiene routine is so important. Regular brushing and flossing to remove plaque will reduce your chances of developing tooth decay. It also pays not to snack on sugary or carbohydrate rich foods in between meals time as your mouth will be more acidic for longer. If you do chip or crack a tooth, please come and see us so we can mend it, protecting your tooth against decay.