Maintaining exceptional dental hygiene is important to overall health. Brushing and flossing should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. However, even the most well-cared for teeth can become vulnerable to cavities.

What is a Cavity?

A cavity as a pit or hole in a tooth caused by decay. These holes can appear in three different areas:

According to dental care manufacturer Oral B, “Bacteria in plaque reacts with sugar in the foods we eat to produce acids that can attack and weaken tooth enamel — the hard, protective covering on our teeth. Eroding enamel leaves the teeth unprotected, allowing for cavities to develop more easily.” While the sugar in the food we eat interacts with bacteria in our mouth to harm our teeth, the fluoride in toothpaste and in our drinking water and the saliva in our mouths are also interacting to help protect our teeth.

Dr. Misty Horn-Blake, a dentist in Johnson City, Tenn., says, “Eating acidic food often throughout the day can enhance [the erosion] process.” It’s not just about the types of food that are eaten but also how often. Eating more frequently causes teeth to be exposed to acid more frequently. Tooth decay can be stopped and reversed but once a pit has formed, it needs to be repaired by a dentist.

Prevention of Cavities

Due to the permanent damage a cavity causes, every effort should be made to prevent cavities from forming. Oral B suggests the following dentist-recommended oral care routine:

In addition, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests checking into dental sealants for children and adolescents when they first get their adult teeth. These sealants cover the uneven chewing surfaces on back teeth so that bacteria and food cannot get trapped there.

Brush teeth and floss daily is the minimum amount of work you can do for your teeth. Be conscious of your whole oral care routine and your teeth will stay bright, clean, and healthy.