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What is a cavity?

Updated: May 21, 2022

Dental Caries is a transmissible disease process that harms healthy tooth structure resulting in a dental cavity. The bad guy - Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria interacts with food debris and sugars in the mouth to form acid which breaks down healthy tooth structure. Dental cavities are caused by bacteria - Thus, it is possible to transfer harmful bacteria between people.

“The formation of a cavity is a multi-factorial disease. A cavity forms through the interaction of bacteria biofilm, tooth anatomy, and the environment - diet, saliva, fluoride.”

Tooth Anatomy

Just like canyons, the tooth has normal grooves, pits, and fissure as they form. Some teeth are formed with deeper grooves than others. These deeper grooves are more difficult to clean and become a food trap allowing bacteria to thrive. Often these deep grooves are filled with dental sealants for children and young adult.


Did you know that early hunter-gatherers had little-to-no cavities? It was from the introduction of carbohydrates, grain, and sugars that allowed harmful bacteria to thrive in our mouths. Reducing consumption of sugars and avoiding acidic foods helps in the reduction of dental cavities.

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