I recently received an email on www.mainedentalclinic.com asking the question “Where do cavities come from?”. With the popularity of energy drinks in the Lewiston and Auburn Maine area dentist are seeing a segment of these young patients with a high number of cavities. To understand how a cavity forms, you need to have an understanding of your teeth. Each tooth is covered by a hard mineral substance called enamel. The enamel helps to protect your teeth, but because it’s a mineral, it can break down when it makes contact with the acids in your mouth. This is one of many reasons why drinking water is really good for the health of your mouth. It washes over your teeth and gums along with your saliva, helping to combat the acid and buildup of bacteria. Sugars and starches are the main enemies here, because bacteria thrive on them.
Once enough bacteria builds up, it’s going to form into plaque and then tartar, two or more enemies of your enamel. If you fail to take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing and drinking plenty of water, then the tartar and plaque will eventually eat away at the enamel, forming tiny holes that compromise the hard surface. This is what’s known as tooth decay. If enough acid builds up over time, these tiny holes get a little larger until they eventually become cavities.