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A cavity is a hole in the outer layer of your tooth, called enamel, which exposes the inner layers of your tooth. These may or may not lead to toothaches, depending on the severity and placement of the exposure.

These holes primarily form due to acid erosion. The acid can come from food sources, such as citrus fruits or acidic drinks, or the acid can come from the mouth system itself.

In your mouth are living bacteria, which coalesce to form a sticky film called plaque.The bacteria in the plaque eat sugars, which can remain in your mouth after eating or drinking. An acidic byproduct is formed, which in turn eats away at tooth enamel until it forms a cavity.

There are ways to combat this vicious cycle, both naturally and mechanically. The body’s first natural defense against acid erosion is the formation of saliva. Saliva not only physically washes away acids and food particles, but it also delivers fortifying substances to tooth enamel and neutralizes existing acids.

You can also mechanically fight cavities by brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes each time. You should wait for 30 minutes after eating before brushing. The acids in food softens enamel, and brushing in that state can actually damage your teeth. Let saliva neutralize acids first to prepare teeth for brushing.

Flossing is also vital, as it cleans areas of the mouth your brush can’t reach–in between teeth and behind the back molars.

For more information, call Payson Dental and Orthodontics in Payson, Utah, at 801-465-7966. Dr. Brian Kraft and our team look forward to making your smile shine!