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Cavities occur in the presence of bacteria. Bacteria adheres to teeth by a sticky biofilm, a byproduct of the bacteria. If this biofilm is left undisturbed on the tooth, the bacteria will weaken the enamel until they reach the layer under the enamel, called dentin. The dentin is softer than enamel and destroyed very easily by bacteria. Sensitivity can occur, but not necessary during decay process. The enamel layer can crumble and break as the dentin layer is destroyed. X-rays are vital to an exam since decay in the enamel can be detected early and resolve with less invasive dental work. To prevent decay, removal of the initial bacterial biofilm is important. Swishing the mouth will not loosen this sticky biofilm. Brushing and flossing are the best tools to use. Scraping the floss on the sides of teeth removes the biofilm, not just “popping it in and out” between teeth. Bacteria is always present and always multiplying. Make sure you are brushing and flossing daily to assist decay prevention.

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