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Dentist explaining xrays

Can Cavities Spread: Fact or Fiction?

October 20, 2023

Have you ever wondered if a cavity in one tooth can affect your other teeth? It’s a common question, and we’re here to help you understand this dental concern. Knowing the risks associated with dental cavities is important to maintaining a healthy, pain-free smile.

What are Cavities?

A cavity is a small hole that forms in a tooth. They start when naturally occurring bacteria that live in your mouth create a sticky film called plaque. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in plaque use these sugars to create an acid byproduct. Over time, this acid destroys the tooth’s protective outer layer called enamel. The enamel can’t rebuild itself, so the hole or cavity forms.

The Domino Effect

Now, you might wonder, can one cavity spread to another tooth? Well, the short answer is no. A hole in one tooth can’t spread onto another tooth. However, a cavity creates an acidic environment full of bacteria where nearby teeth are more likely to develop cavities. Untreated cavities can create a domino effect in your entire mouth if not managed properly.

Cavities can become widespread in the mouth when left untreated. As a cavity grows, it can spread deeper into the tooth, reaching the sensitive inner nerves. This causes pain and may even lead to infection. As the cavity advances, it can weaken the entire tooth structure. Weak teeth are more prone to chipping, cracking, or developing new cavities. Luckily, good oral health habits will help prevent the spread of bacteria around your mouth.

Dentist explaining xrays

Stop the Spread

The key to stopping cavities from spreading is early treatment. Dentists can repair small cavities with fillings, which are quick and less invasive. But, if you put off dental care, a small cavity can become a big problem! Big cavities sometimes require more extensive and costly treatments like root canals or crowns. Remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss daily, and eat sugar in moderation. Also, don’t skip those routine dental visits!

While cavities themselves don’t spread from one tooth to another, untreated cavities can affect your entire mouth. So, if you suspect you have a cavity, or if it’s been a while since your last dental check-up, schedule an appointment with us. Remember, taking care of one cavity today can prevent a domino effect of problems in the future. Your oral health is in your hands, and we’re here to help you maintain a bright and healthy smile!