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Many people have cavities, but aren’t aware of them. Others show signs of developing cavities. What is a cavity, and how can you prevent them?
What are Cavities? How Do They Start?
Cavities (also called dental caries) are small pits in the teeth. They occur when the tooth’s enamel (the protective outer surface) starts to erode. Even though enamel is a hard substance, this ultra-strong protective armor develops tiny holes – cavities – when bacteria and acids corrode the enamel’s outer shell.
The combination of acids and bacteria forms a thin, colorless film on the teeth called plaque. If left untreated, this can eventually lead to cavities. Since you can’t see or easily detect plaque, cavities can quickly form before you know it!
What Causes Cavities?
The following foods and drinks accelerate cavity formation:
- Sugary snacks
- Soft drinks
- Sports drinks with corn syrup
- Fruit juice
- Processed carbohydrates
- Acidic foods like tomatoes, lemons, and other citrus fruits
- And more
How to Prevent Cavities
To prevent cavities from forming in the first place, remember these smart, easy-to-follow habits:
- Limit sugary snacks and soft drinks.
- Brush at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. Bonus points for a lunchtime brushing!
- Floss at least once per day.
- Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
- Eat a diet of mostly whole, natural foods.
- Visit your dentist for a teeth cleaning and regular visits.