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Our mouths really are incredible places. They are landscapes of marvelous diversity and complexity, and each component works intricately with others to enable us to taste, talk, and more. But the mouth is susceptible to a variety of problems, as well. Two of the most common issues faced by our teeth in particular are cavities and abscesses. What are they, and how do they differ from each other?

Cavities are a common form of tooth decay, especially among children. Cavities form when acid created by bacteria in your mouth eats away the hard outer layer of enamel on your teeth. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, is constantly forming in our mouths. They feed on sugar that gets caught, and then produce acid. The plaque traps the acid against the teeth. While more common in kids, adults get cavities, too. Aging can cause gums to recede and expose softer parts of teeth. This is why thorough brushing and flossing is important throughout your whole life.

While cavities happen on the surface of a tooth, abscesses develop deep inside it. Cracks or decay (such as cavities) expose the tooth’s pulp to bacteria. Over time, pus forms in the root, causing the abscess. If left untreated, the tooth can be lost. Often the only solution is to perform a root canal. This is why it is so important to fill cavities before they become severe, and especially to prevent cavities in the first place by good oral hygiene habits.

Come visit Dr Lupy D. Gonzalez in her Houston, Texas, office to get started on your new dental routine. See how bright your smile can be!