How Long Does a Cavity Need to Form?

Man with dental floss.

Cavities are a common dental concern that can significantly affect the smile in a negative way. This is why our team at Gentle Family Dentistry and Implant Center educates patients in the areas of Allentown and Bethlehem about what to expect when it comes to the formation of cavities and when intervention may be needed.

What Are Cavities?

Cavities, sometimes referred to as dental caries or tooth decay, are holes in the hard outer surface of your teeth caused by bacteria. When you eat, the food that is left behind on your teeth begins to decay and form acids. These acids wear away at the enamel of your teeth, creating small openings or cavities. As these cavities get bigger, they can reach below the enamel into the deeper layers of the tooth, leading to infection and pain. In severe cases, it may even lead to tooth loss!

How Long Does a Cavity Need to Form?

The amount of time that it takes for a cavity to form depends on a number of different factors, including the type of food you eat and how often you brush your teeth. Generally, cavities can form within weeks or months if poor oral hygiene habits are not followed. The best way to prevent tooth decay–and periodontal disease–is by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day. Additionally, eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables will keep your mouth clean and reduce your risk of cavities.

How Can I Tell if I Have Cavities?

If you notice that one or more of your teeth feels sensitive to hot or cold foods or drinks, experiences pain when biting down, has visible holes in the surface of the tooth, or has discoloration, you may have cavities. To confirm if you have cavities, contact your dentist to schedule a check-up. During the check-up, the dentist will use digital X-rays and special instruments to detect cavities in their early stages.

What Can I Do To Reduce My Risk of Developing Cavities?

To reduce your risk of tooth decay, it is imperative that you brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss regularly to remove plaque build-up and prevent cavities from forming. Regular dental checkups are also recommended so any early signs of cavities can be detected and treated quickly. If you live in the areas of Bethlehem or Allentown, PA, call one of our office locations to book an evaluation and dental cleaning with our experienced team of professionals.

Posted in: Dental Services, Latest News

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