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A Hole Lot of Trouble

Author: Katherine MacMillan


Cavities! Most people have had this kind of tooth decay before, but what exactly are they?


Teeth are covered in a substance called enamel. This hard substance protects your teeth from cavities, and we all have a certain amount, but - we cannot get it back if we lose it (Higuera, 2017)! Cavities are erosions in that enamel, and they can become painful if not treated. Signs of a cavity can include sensitivity or pain in that area, seeing a little dark hole in your tooth, or staining (Higuera, 2017).


Another substance, plaque, can stick to this enamel and cause those pesky cavities (KidsHealth, n.d)! Plaque is made up of bacteria, acid, saliva, and food particles. This means that soon after you consume sugary foods, plaque can begin to form on your teeth, and because plaque is acidic, it can start to eat away at your enamel once it is on your tooth (Higuera, 2017).


So how can you prevent cavities? The good news is that regular flossing and brushing can help prevent them (think two times a day for brushing, and once a day for flossing)! Both are important to properly clean your teeth, as well as avoiding super-sugary foods (Higuera, 2017).


But no one is perfect, and anyone with teeth can get cavities! Going to your dentist for regular check-ups can help catch these cavities before they grow large (Higuera, 2017). Dentists can inspect your teeth carefully, and even use X-Ray machines to look for hard-to-see cavities (KidsHealth, n.d)! If they do find one, removing them is relatively simple - dentists can use a cool drill meant for teeth to take out the cavity (KidsHealth, n.d). The hole that remains (free from tooth decay!) can then be filled with a filling. Fillings can be made out of many materials, such as gold, silver, or resin (Higuera, 2017). The filling can then be polished and you are good to go!


References


Experts, K. (Ed.). (n.d.). What's a Cavity? (for kids) - NEMOURS KidsHealth. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/cavity.html

Higuera, V. (2017, November 15). Tooth Cavities. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/find-care/articles/dentists/tooth-cavities#treatment