How Long Do Cavities Take to Develop?

added on: December 5, 2018

None of us want to hear we have a dreaded cavity or multiples hiding in our mouths. You might be thinking, “When did this even form? How long did it take? Why is it there? Help me!”

Cavity Causes

There is a continual need for balance within your mouth for it to remain healthy. Cavities occur when tooth decay overtakes remineralization. Although you can strengthen the enamel of your teeth with saliva production and proper hygiene, unfortunately, enamel remains susceptible to decaying.

Usually the primary culprits of this occurring are sugar and bacteria. Certain bacteria in your mouth produces acid leading to your enamel being attacked. This is why brushing and flossing regularly are so important. They remove the sugar and food debris, also known as pesky plaque, left behind on your teeth, so the bacteria and acid have nothing to stick to. During these clean and fresh times, your saliva helps your teeth absorb calcium and phosphate, so they can remineralize.

Cavity Formation Timeframe

If brushing and flossing are skipped or you drink soda every day or grinding your teeth is a common practice or you’ve skipped your six month checkup with your dentist, there is a very good chance you have at least one cavity making a home for itself in your mouth. How long it took for the cavity to form depends on a number of factors. If bad habits are only occasional, it might take years for the cavity to fully form. If bad habits are rampant, a cavity could form in a matter of months or even under some circumstances, a matter of weeks.

young girl and boy brushing teeth to prevent cavities

Cavity Prevention

This is why it is extremely important to keep up healthy habits every single day. You’ve heard them before, but for a very good reason! They keep the forming of cavities and other issues from happening. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss once a day, avoid sticky and sugary foods, drink lots and lots of water and never think putting off your twice a year visits to your dentist is a responsible decision.

If your dentist finds the cavity in the beginning stages, it is much easier to take care of and keeps you from additional pain and costs such as a root canal! This rings even truer for small children, since their enamel is weaker than adult enamel. If you experience any type of toothache, even if it’s mild, make an appointment with your dentist. You won’t regret a cleaning or simple checkup every three to six months, when it helps ensure your teeth remain cavity free!


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