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What Are the Causes of Cavities?

What Are the Causes of Cavities?

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems. They affect nearly 90 percent of all adults. Dental cavities are caused when bacteria that normally live in the mouth form plaque. This plaque clings to the teeth and eats away at the enamel, creating small pits in the tooth structure. The bacteria in plaque also produce acid, which eats away at the tooth structure, further creating a cavity. 

There are several other potential causes of cavities. These include:

Poor Oral Hygiene

Failing to brush and floss regularly is one of the most common causes of cavities. Plaque and bacteria buildup in the mouth creates acids that lead to tooth decay. If plaque is not removed from the surface of the teeth, it can create a breeding ground for bacteria. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day is the recommended cleaning regimen.

Infrequent Dental Care

Cavities are often caused by a lack of dental care. If a patient does not go to the dentist in Oakland, CA, regularly, then the sugar from the foods they eat and acids from the bacteria in the mouth begin to erode the enamel. This erosion causes small holes to form in the teeth. If a patient does not seek treatment, then these holes become larger, resulting in tooth decay.

Our dentist in Oakland, CA, will recommend opting for dental fillings to address their cavities. Dental fillings not only restore the form and function of teeth, but they also help prevent further tooth decay and damage. They are crafted from durable, tooth-colored materials, which blend in with natural teeth.


Genetics is one of the biggest causes of cavities. If your parents had cavities, there’s a high chance that you will also get them, too. This is because genetics play a role in how susceptible your teeth are to plaque and bacteria. Your enamel can also weaken over time due to advanced age, as enamel (which is the outermost layer of your teeth) dissolves and wears away.


Cavities are also caused by eating too many sugary and starchy foods, which causes tooth decay. Many of these foods also promote plaque buildup. Plaque is a film that coats your teeth and contains dangerous bacteria that destroy your enamel and cause cavities.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth, or xerostomia, can be caused by many things. Certain medications, health problems, and smoking can all contribute to a dry mouth. A dry mouth is unhealthy because it contributes to tooth decay, and it can also leave you more susceptible to a bad breath odor.

To combat dry mouth, drink more water, avoid alcohol, and make sure to schedule regular dental checkups with the dentist in Oakland, CA.

Acidic Foods and Beverages

There are a number of foods that can contribute to tooth decay. Bacteria in your mouth feed on the sugars and other carbohydrates you eat, producing acid. This acid can eat away at the enamel on your teeth, eventually causing cavities.

To learn more about best practices for oral health, call Bay Area Dental at (510) 350-8187 or visit our dental office at 3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609. Book your appointment with our dentist in Oakland, CA, to achieve the smile you have always wished for.


3300 Webster Street, #907, Oakland, CA 94609

Office Hours

MON Closed

TUE 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

WED Closed

THU 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

FRI - SUN Closed

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Phone: (510) 350-8187