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Dental Caries


Dental caries are also called cavities. Cavities are caused by bacteria. When the bacteria in tooth plaque (sticky film) mix with certain types of carbohydrate, this creates acid. The acid breaks down areas of enamel, which covers the outside of a tooth. This creates a small hole in the tooth called a cavity.


Seek care immediately if:

  • Your face, jaw, cheek, eye, or neck begin to swell.

Contact your dentist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your tooth pain gets worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Follow up with your dentist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent dental caries:

  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss to clean between your teeth at least once a day.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after meals and snacks.
  • Chew sugarless gum after meals and snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and oral exams.

Learn more about Dental Caries (Discharge Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.