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What is a cavity, and how does it form? If you are armed with this knowledge, you will be more prepared to avoid cavities in your own smile.

A cavity is a hole in the enamel of your tooth. If the hole gets deep enough, it can expose the inner portion of your tooth, where the soft tissues and nerve endings are. This can lead to tooth pain, decay, infection, or even tooth failure.

A cavity forms primarily due to acid erosion. This comes as a surprise to some, as they associate sugar intake with cavity formation. So why do we hear so much about how sugar is bad for our mouths? The answer lies in how a cavity actually forms.

The first thing to know is that there are bacteria that live in your mouth, which coalesce into an unsightly film called plaque. These bacteria feed on sugar, usually from leftover food particles in your mouth. The bacteria then create an acidic byproduct, which coats the teeth and begins to erode the tooth enamel. Acids from foods can erode the enamel directly, as well.

The best way to avoid cavities is to limit both your sugars and acids, and to clean your mouth thoroughly on days when you decide to indulge.

For more information, call Oshins Of Smiles in Guilderland, New York, at 518-356-5635. Dr. Steven Oshins and our team are happy to help you!