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What are cavities?
Also known as cavities

Although tooth decay has declined among young children as a group, tooth decay can still be a problem for individual children, even for teens and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, continually forms on the surface of teeth, especially along the gum line. When you eat or drink foods containing sugar or starch, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque holds these bacteria-produced acids in contact with your teeth. After continual exposure to these acids, hard tooth enamel breaks down, exposing soft tooth dentine. Bacteria-produced acids penetrate into the tooth creating a hole, or 쐁avity. The whole process of decay is called 쐔ooth decay", or 쐂ental caries".
Aren't Cavities Just Kid's Stuff?
No. Changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too. Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of periodontal (gum) disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Because tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel, the roots are susceptible to decay. Exposed roots are also more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. The majority of people over age 50 have tooth decay of the root. Decay along the edge, or margin, of a filling is also common among older adults. Many older adults do not have the benefits of having had fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up. Consequently, older people often have a fair number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken or wear. Usually within five to ten years, the margin tends to crack, creating tiny crevices. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices, causing acid to build up, which then leads to decay. Mew materials, such as resins and ceramics, have been replacing amalgam and porcelain. New materials, digital imaging, and computer-controlled milling machines are working together to produce incredibly durable and natural looking precision inlays and caps. Much more of healthy tooth can be retained nowadays by using these modern advances.

Decay along the edge, or margin, of a filling is also common among older adults. Many older adults do not have the benefits of having had fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up. Consequently, older people often have a fair number of dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken or wear. Usually within five to ten years, the margin tends to crack, creating tiny crevices.Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices, causing acid to build up, which then leads to decay.
Preventing Decay

- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. - Clean between teeth daily with floss or an inter-dental cleaner, i.e. thin brush. - Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. - Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams. For more aggressive prevention: - Consider dental sealants, a protective plastic coating that can be applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, which is where decay often starts. - Replace old amalgam fillings with precision ceramic inlays, pre-empting decay along the border line, or margins, of fillings.