A dental cavity is a hole in the tooth
that can grow bigger and deeper over time.
More to Know
Cavities (also called caries) happen when bacteria (germs) and food left on the
teeth after eating are not brushed
or flossed away. The bacteria make acid that softens the tooth's outer hard surface
(called the enamel). Once this happens, the acids can cause decay deeper in the tooth.
This can lead to a cavity that sometimes causes tooth pain or sensitivity.
Many kids get cavities but certain things make developing cavities more likely.
These include drinking a lot of sugary drinks, using a sippy cup or bottle (filled
with something other than water) throughout the day or while in bed, not getting enough
around cigarette smoke,
and taking liquid medication for a long time.
Keep in Mind
To treat a cavity, a dentist will first numb the tooth and gum area. The decayed
part of the tooth is removed with a special drill, then a filling is put into the
hole. Sometimes, the decay is very deep and the dentist may recommend a root canal
(removing the nerve and pulp, then cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth) or
removing the tooth.
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