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Cavities occur in the hard, outer parts of your teeth when they become permanently damaged. Small holes or openings develop in these outer layers and allow further damage to the more sensitive inner parts of your teeth if left unchecked.

Cavities are better known as dental caries and can be caused by a number of factors that interact to dissolve the hard protective enamel on the outside of your teeth. Cavities are a very common health problem world-wide, although they are most often seen when diet includes sugary drinks, processed food and frequent snacking without sufficient attention to dental hygiene.

Just about anyone can get cavities and tooth decay which can result when the cavities are sufficiently large. They are most prevalent in children, teenagers and older people, but anyone can develop cavities.

The mains signs and symptoms of cavities include:

These symptoms typically develop a little later in the growth stage of a cavity, so that a cavity may be in its early stages yet not noticed. One of the reasons why a regular visit to your dentist in Burlington, Ontario is that cavities can be detected by a routine examination and treated before they get any worse. If you do experience any of the symptoms above then it is a good idea to make a visit to your dentist anyway.

How cavities form

Cavities are usually made when acids present in sticky plaque attack the hard enamel of the tooth, gradually making a small hole, which allows acids to penetrate further into the tooth’s interior. The acid is produced as a result of bacteria feeding on processed food remains, especially sugary food left on the teeth, particularly close to the gums. As the acid dissolves more and more of the tooth’s surface, it is easier for bacteria to invade the cavity and cause further tooth decay.

Treatment options

Your dentist in Burlington, Ontario has a range of options available for treating cavities depending on how advanced they are. These include: