Where do hidden cavities occur in your mouth?
Not all tooth decay and cavities lie in plain sight.
You may check out all your tooth surfaces in the mirror while you brush your teeth and not see a thing. However, chances are there may be caries or a cavity in the tooth surfaces that you cannot see in the mirror – and these hidden areas add up to approximately 50% of your total tooth surfaces!
So don’t trust what you see or can’t see in the mirror. Trust what your dentist can accurately identify via specialised dental tools, instruments and digital x-rays!
What are cavities?
Cavities are decaying areas of your teeth that have penetrated the tooth enamel through to the inner tooth.
Typically, decay or caries progress slowly through tiny holes and/or deepening fissures in tooth enamel until the inner tooth surfaces (dentin) are exposed. Once this occurs, decay can progress quite quickly through the relatively soft dentin. This decay process can mushroom within the dentin to form a cavity – similar to a cave with a small opening.
Pit or fissure cavities – the most visible type of cavity
The type of cavity you can spot easily enough in the mirror is a pit or fissure cavity. These cavities occur on the chewing-side surfaces of your upper and lower molars.
Decay and cavities are easy enough to spot on your lower molars but try inspecting the chewing surfaces and back areas of your upper back molars. It’s rather difficult without a dental tool such as a stainless steel dental mirror.
Smooth surface and root cavities – the most secretive types of cavities
The most hard-to-spot and hard-to-reach areas in your mouth are the tooth surfaces that are going to collect more plaque and eventually develop into tooth decay and cavities. These include areas between your teeth and on your tooth roots below the gum line.
The types of cavities that may develop in these areas include:
- Smooth surface cavities
- Root cavities
Preventing cavities is better than fixing your teeth
Fortunately, your dentist can treat plaque, tartar, decay/caries and cavities, as well as restore your damaged tooth.
However, prevention is better than a compromised tooth – so ensure you clean 100% of your tooth surfaces thoroughly and frequently with whatever it takes – whether that be a toothbrush, floss, interdental brush and/or a water pikster. Even xylitol-sweetened chewing gum can help for those after meal moments.
Additionally, snacking on junk food and sipping sugary soft drinks frequently should also be avoided since their residue on your teeth is what causes plaque to develop in the first place.