Keeping Cavities at Bay

Do you have an aching tooth? A sharp pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold? Bleeding gums? Then you might have a cavity starting in one of your teeth.

Causes and development of a cavity

There are a number of factors that cause cavities.

  • Food left behind in your mouth,
  • Bad breath,
  • Foods high in carbohydrates, soda’s, sugar, milk and candy

We have more than 500 different types of bacteria in our mouth. The bacteria mixes with our saliva to form plaque. Food high in sugar, carbohydrates and acid add to the plaque if it remains on your teeth. The plaque hardens or turns into tartar. Tartar is the build up of minerals that’s visible above the gum-line.  Over time the plaque becomes difficult to remove.

The acids in plaque strips away your tooth’s enamel. This is the start of a cavity.  Bacteria and acids can reach the next layer called dentin. This layer is softer than enamel which makes it less resistant to acid.

Your tooth decay is now developing. The bacteria and acid keep corroding your tooth moving to the inner tooth called pulp. Pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels, and these become swollen and irritated from the bacteria. Swelling starts and soon after, pressure from the swelling nerves causes pain and discomfort.

How to treat your cavity

It is best to catch your cavity early. The decay can be stopped and even reversed. It’s important to note that a damaged tooth cannot regenerate. There are a number of various treatments to cure or preserve your decaying tooth. This includes:

  • Fluoride treatments. Fluoride can sometimes reverse the cavity if it is caught at the early stages. Fluoride restores the tooth’s enamel.
  • Fillings are the most common option for decaying teeth. The cavity is filled using various materials including composite resin and porcelain.
  • Root canals. Root canal might be the only treatment if the decay reaches the pulp. Root Canal repairs and saves a badly damaged or infected tooth replacing the pulp with a filling.
  • A crown is a custom-fitted layer that covers the natural tooth. The decayed area around the tooth is removed. The crown covers the area stopping the decay.

Teeth that are badly damaged can’t be repaired. These teeth must be extracted. This is a last resort as having a tooth removed can lead to other problems. The extracted tooth will leave a gap in the gum allowing other teeth to shift. To prevent this from happening a bridge or dental implant will have to be used to replace the extracted tooth.

Cavity prevention

  • Eat fruit and vegetable high in fibre.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods, candy, soda, and refined carbohydrates.
  • Brush your teeth with fluoride.

If you have concerns about cavities or even any general questions about your oral health, contact Signal Hill Dental Care today. We offer general, emergency and childrens dentistry.  Remember to visit us at least every 6 months to keep your teeth healthy. Our caring and well informed staff will assist you with all your dental needs and questions.

We are open 7 days a week.  Open 7 days a week

  • Monday – Friday 7am – 9pm
  • Saturday 8am-4pm
  • Sunday 9am-4pm

We have made it easier to make an appointment with our online bookings. You can visit our website at

Our website offers free dental tips and common dental questions are answered.

Alternatively, you can email us at or call us on (403 246-3663).