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What is tooth decay or 'cavities'

Tooth decay is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide*

So what is it?

Tooth decay is also known as 'dental caries' or having 'a cavity'.

Cavities are caused by plaque on your teeth, using sugars in your diet to destroy tooth structure. The above picture is a slide of a tooth showing two cavities, and their spread within the tooth.

Cavities are a preventable disease:

• Avoid sugar in the diet and read our blog on prevention here.

• Brush your teeth to remove plaque twice a day, and use adjuncts to cleaning such as flossing, and mouthwash. Read more on what brush to buy and how to brush.

• Attend your dentist regularly and follow their custom advice for your recall frequency (Gentle Dental 021 4543856). Notice in the aboce picture, the two cavities would be hidden by other teeth on either side. The dentist will check these spots for you to ensure you have a clean bill of Oral health.


Most cavities can be treated by fillings. We'll cover more about what types of fillings in a future blog post.

If a cavity reaches close to, or into a nerve, the result can be sensitivity, pain and infection (toothache). This can require treatment such as prescription of medication, root canal, or extraction of a tooth.

Dr John Bresnan

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