Word of Mouth: How cavities develop

Cavities are one of the most common issues affecting our teeth. A mainstay of childhood dental concerns, cavities can also affect adults. Knowing how cavities develop is vital to protecting your teeth.


Everyone’s teeth are covered in a film of bacteria called plaque. These bacteria thrive on sugary foods and drinks, creating acids that break down tooth enamel. The sticky nature of plaque keeps those acids right up close to our teeth, allowing holes — called cavities — to form. The holes then harbor much more sugar-loving plaque and other bacteria, leading to infection, pain and tooth loss if not treated.

Since most kids love candy and sugary foods, and aren’t as adept at oral care, cavities are very common in children and teens. However, adults can also develop cavities. Recessed gums give the bacteria in plaque access to the softer cementum tissue found under the gum line. Cementum protects the roots of our teeth and breaks down faster than enamel, making tooth sensitivity and tooth-rot decay a major concern for adults. Similarly, plaque can also get into the cracks and crevices around fillings.


Good oral care is the front line in the war against cavities. Everyone needs to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and commit to at least one daily flossing. Consuming healthy, nutritious foods and drink — and limiting the sugary stuff — are next. Lastly, visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and additional options for combating cavities at any age.

Word of Mouth is sponsored by Midtown Dental.



BIO: Dr. William Nerestant received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Detroit/Mercy School of Dentistry in Michigan. After serving and being recognized for his meritorious service in the U.S. Air Force as an officer in the Dental Corps, he currently serves patients at Midtown Dental in Lakeland. For more information, visit www.mymidtowndental.com or call (863) 226-0987.

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