Getting a cavity is not fun. Luckily, they do take a bit of time to form, which gives you the opportunity to halt tooth decay in its tracks at an early stage. That being said, how much time does it actually take for a cavity to form? Additionally, how can you stop cavities from forming?

Timeline of Cavities

Cavities don’t happen overnight. In fact, the tooth decay process is gradual. Bacterial plaque in your mouth produces acid after eating dietary sugar, and then that acid slowly deteriorates your enamel. This can take months and even years to cause the amount of damage that calls for a filling, root canal, or crown from your dentist. However, there are particular factors that accelerate a cavity to fully form.

Weaker enamel, such as in children under six years old, decays more easily, thus allowing cavities form in less amount of time. Other factors that increase a tooth’s susceptibility to decay include:

  • A diet high in sugar and low in tooth-strengthening nutrients
  • Teeth grinding
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Poor dental hygiene

How to Be Proactive

If you don’t currently have a cavity, great work! That being said, if you have one forming, it is still possible to stop the progression of permanent enamel damage. This is achieved with a balanced diet, proper hygiene and care, and regular visits to your dentist. To take the best care of your oral health, it is important to know the crucial components of a healthy dental routine, as outlined below:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, every day. Do this for two minutes (approximately 30 seconds in each quadrant) using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Incorporate a fluoride or alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash into your routine.
  • Consider buying an electric toothbrush and/or water flosser. They often make oral care more effective and efficient.
  • Avoid sugary and starchy foods as much as possible. Only eat in moderation.
  • Choose water over sugary and acidic drinks.