Cavities and Dental News

A cavity is a tiny hole in a tooth caused by decay. Teeth are under daily attack from tiny bacteria produced by the things you eat and drink. Over time, this leads to tooth decay, and eventually the enamel that protects the teeth begins to break down. That's when cavities can form.

However, cavities can often be prevented, and they can be treated if they do develop.

Causes and Symptoms

Most people think of cavities as a problem among children, and it’s true that children do get a lot of cavities. But older adults are at risk, too, particularly as the gums start to break down and recede with age. The exposed root of the tooth is less protected than the upper portion of the tooth, making it more susceptible to plaque buildup and ultimately cavities.

Prevention and Treatment of Cavities

The best weapon against the development of cavities is to try to prevent them through sound dietary and dental habits. This includes eating healthy meals and avoiding sugary snacks and drinks. You should also brush your teeth well at least twice a day and use floss every day to keep plaque from building up in the spaces between your teeth and gums. In addition, see a dentist regularly as recommended for professional cleanings and checkups.

Dentists also have other tools, beyond cleanings and checkups, that can help prevent cavities. For many people, fluoride treatments and dental sealants can prevent the growth of cavities. If a cavity does occur, a dentist would drill a small hole at the spot of the cavity, remove the decay and then seal the hole with a filling to prevent it from spreading.

SOURCES: American Dental Association

Date Posted
Article Title
Dental Anxiety Has Consequences Beyond Tooth Decay

Avoiding the dentist can lead to a poorer quality of life, researchers say

No More Drilling and Filling?

Scientists say they've discovered a way to naturally repair cavities

A Pill to Ward Off Cavities? Scientists Say It Could Happen

Researchers spotted a strain of 'good' bacteria in the mouth that helps keep 'bad' bacteria under control

Dentistry Without the Drill? New Study Offers Hope

Tooth decay happens, but many cavities take years to develop and can be avoided, study shows

Secondhand Smoke in Infancy May Harm Kids' Teeth

Exposure increased risk of cavities, researchers report

More Cavities Seen in Kids of Chronically Stressed Mothers

These moms are less likely to breast-feed, make dental appointments, study finds

Beavers Offer Tips on Cavity Prevention

Iron in their teeth enamel provides superior protection, study says

Dentists Offer Tips to Keep Young Children Cavity-Free

Snacking 24/7 can lead to serious decay

Family Troubles Tied to Poorer Dental Health, Study Discovers

The more physical, verbal aggression there was in the home, the more cavities parents and children had

Pediatricians Offer New Dental Recommendations

American Academy of Pediatrics urges fluoride use on first teeth to prevent decay

Dentists' Group Expands Recommended Use of Fluoride Toothpaste for Kids

They should use an amount the size of a grain of rice as soon as first tooth appears, ADA says

Fluoride Treatments May Help Fight Cavities

People at high risk for dental decay might be helped by topical gels or varnishes, ADA panel says

Halloween Treats Can Spook Kids' Teeth

Dentists offer cavity-prevention tips

Tooth Cavities Linked to Lower Risk of Head, Neck Cancer in Study

Bacteria involved in cavity formation may have some cancer-protective effect, researcher says, but skeptics aren't sure

4 Billion People Worldwide Have Untreated Cavities: Study

Global burden of oral conditions increased 20 percent between 1990 and 2010, study shows

Human Teeth Healthier in the Stone Age Than Today: Study

Food manufacturing progress altered oral bacteria, leading to chronic problems, researchers say

Early Dental Care Can Help Keep Kids Smiling for Years to Come

Parents urged to make brushing, flossing and visiting dentist a regular habit

Study Supports Link Between Obesity, Cavities in Homeless Kids

Besides difficulty gaining access to dental care, lack of good food, clean water may add to woes

Dental Woes Abound for Developmentally Disabled: Study

Problems such as gum disease, missing teeth threaten their overall health, experts say

Too Much Bottled Water Might Harm Kids' Teeth

As Americans rely less on tap water, lack of fluoride could be a concern, experts say

Plastics Chemical in Dental Fillings Might Affect Children's Behavior: Study

But research could not prove bisphenol-A (BPA) caused the subtle changes

Racial Gap in Kids' Dental Care Vanishing: Study

But black children still get more cavities, expert says

1 in 5 Americans Has Untreated Cavities: CDC

Most kids get dental care, regardless of income, because of federal health programs, researcher says

Acid Reflux From Chronic Heartburn May Damage Teeth

Study reveals extent of harm that GERD can cause in the mouth, but some preventive measures exist

Kids From Poorer Families Drink Too Much Juice: Poll

Sugary beverages can cause obesity, tooth decay, experts say

Native American Children Have More Tooth Decay

Their rate of untreated cavities was three times higher than other kids, study finds

Cavities in Baby Teeth May Come From Poor Food Choices

Dental office a good place to offer education on kids' nutrition, researcher says

Cavity-Causing Bacteria May Have Originated in Gut

Germ linked to tooth decay evolved from a beneficial organism, researchers say

New Weapon Emerges to Fight Kids' Cavities

Xylitol syrup may protect baby teeth from decay, much like fluoride, study finds

Almost Half of Kids Still Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

Survey says that despite progress, more is needed to clean up air in homes, cars

Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates

Reproductive pressures, dietary preferences all contribute, anthropologist suggests

Breast-Feeding Doesn't Contribute to Cavities

Toddler tooth troubles more likely linked to poverty, maternal smoking, study says

Coming Soon: Pain-Free Dentistry

Scientists hard at work on no-drill dental fillings

More Young Children Suffering From Tooth Decay

But report finds some signs of improvement in dental care

U.S. Dentists 'Give Kids a (Free) Smile' This Friday

Annual one-day initiative provides dental care at no cost to disadvantaged youngsters

Protein Holds Promise as Tooth Regenerator

It helps rebuild dentin, a bone-like hard tissue, researchers report

Young Smiles Can Fall Prey to Tooth Decay

Even preschoolers struggle with dental problems

Popular Drinks Eat Away at Tooth Enamel

Acidic beverages such as Gatorade, Red Bull and Coke can erode smiles, study suggests

C-Sections Linked to Higher Cavity Risk in Babies

Less bacterial exposure during birth may be the cause, study suggests

Juices Better Than Colas for Kids' Teeth

Sugary soft drinks and powdered beverages contribute to tooth decay

Coffee to Go, Please, No Milk, Sugar -- or Cavities

New research suggests java can keep tooth decay at bay

Dentists Buzzing About Beeswax

Bee secretions could help fight cavities