The Cavity Conundrum

cavity toothacheThe thought of cavities might be at the back of your mind every time you brush and floss your teeth (particularly the hope of not having any). Unless you do have one, though, you might not think much about them otherwise, like what cavities are, and why you should take every necessary step to avoid them. The problem lies in the bacteria that dwell in your mouth, which feed on the same substances you do and convert many of them into harmful acids. After  a while, these acids erode your teeth’s outer layer of enamel, leaving teeth vulnerable to infectious, cavity-causing bacteria. Fortunately, you don’t have to starve yourself in addition to brushing and flossing in order to prevent cavities.

Why Almost Anyone Can Get Cavities

Conventional wisdom (and science) tells us that eating too much sugar causes cavities. While true, this is an overly-simplistic view of tooth decay. Sugar is a notorious source for acid-producing bacteria, but so are other fermentable carbohydrates found in a wide variety of foods and beverages. Every time your mouth’s germs metabolize these carbohydrates, the acids they produce erode the enamel that protects your teeth from infectious bacteria. Since bacteria are inherent in everyone’s mouth (as is the plaque they produce to cling to your teeth), nearly everyone can develop cavities without proper hygiene, healthy eating habits, and regular professional dental care.

So How Do You Prevent Cavities?

Though it should only take a couple of minutes each time (at least), brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice every day is the most important cavity prevention measure. By repeatedly cleaning the bacteria and plaque from your teeth, you can reduce the amount of acids they produce and protect your tooth enamel from excessive attacks. Besides good hygiene, you can also combat harmful mouth microbes throughout the rest of the day:

  • Drink a lot of water. It naturally rinses your mouth and neutralizes bacterial acid. It also promotes a healthy flow of saliva, which does the same.
  • Try not to snack often throughout the day, and finish sugary, acidic beverages as quickly as possible. The more you snack and the slower you drink, the more your teeth are exposed to destructive acids.
  • Attend dental checkups and cleanings regularly. If you fail to prevent enamel erosion and tooth decay, then early treatment can stop the cavity from growing and consuming a large amount of your tooth structure.


For over 15 years, Dr. Michele Collier and the talented professionals at Waterstone Family Dentistry have provided comfortable, compassionate dental care to patients of all ages from Fuquay Varina, NC, as well as Holly Springs, Angier, Willow Springs, Raleigh, and all surrounding communities. If you’d like to learn more, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Collier by calling (919) 557-5250 today.

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