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Nobody wants to find out they have a cavity. If you know how cavities form, you can better prevent them in your mouth.

The primary culprit of cavity formation is acidic erosion of the enamel. Acids come from two main sources: food and drink, and bacteria.

There are many kinds of bacteria that live in your mouth. They coalesce into a sticky film called plaque. The bacteria in the plaque feed on the sugars left in your mouth in the form of food particles. Through the processes of their life, the bacteria produce an acidic byproduct that coats the tooth and begins eroding the tooth enamel. Eventually a hole forms. The hole in the enamel can expose the inner portion of the tooth, wherein is found the nerve endings and other soft tissues necessary for the tooth to stay alive. As those tissues are exposed to infection, tooth failure becomes a real possibility.

Acids can come from more than bacteria. The foods you eat and the drinks you consume can also contribute to cavity formation. Eating things like sticky, acidic candy is particularly damaging, as the acids and sugars both stay on the teeth (the latter feeding plaque that erodes enamel and the former eroding the tooth enamel directly). Also, avoid acidic drinks like wine, energy drinks and sports drinks. If you do decide to drink these beverages, use a straw to help protect the teeth from damage.

For more information, call Potomac Dental Centre in Hagerstown, Maryland, at 240-329-2398. Dr. Everett Eklund and our team look forward to helping you make your smile healthy and strong!