can cavities spread

Can Cavities Spread to Other Teeth?

Cavities are one of the most common consequences of tooth decay. While cavities themselves do not spread, the bacteria that created them can spread to other teeth. At Lifetime Family Dental, helping our patients maintain excellent oral health is extremely important to us. Continue reading to learn more about cavities and how to stop tooth decay from spreading.

What Causes Cavities?

A poor diet and a lack of oral hygiene tend to cause tooth decay because they help harmful bacteria grow and create plaque. When plaque stays on your teeth for long periods of time, it turns into tartar and causes even more damage. Ongoing tooth decay causes permanent damage like cavities, which are tiny holes in the surface of your teeth. Cavities can be treated with fillings or crowns, depending on the severity of the damage.

There are a variety of factors that can cause cavities, such as:

  • Eating sticky, sugary, and starchy foods
  • Neglecting to brush and floss
  • Worn-out fillings or other dental restorations
  • Heartburn
  • Eating disorders
  • Dry mouth

Can Cavities Spread to Other Teeth?

If you develop a cavity in one of your teeth, it cannot spread to the surrounding teeth. However, the conditions that caused the cavity in the first place will only lead to more cavities if you do not maintain proper oral hygiene. Another consequence of letting the damage that causes cavities spread is gum disease, which can cause tooth decay and cavities below the gumline. 

When you do not seek treatment for your cavities, the damage to your teeth grows even worse, leading to abscesses and tooth loss. An abscess is a bacterial infection in the tooth caused by cavities and chipped or cracked teeth. The infection from an abscess can spread to the jaw, leading to bone loss, and even to the brain in some cases. If the infection spreads, you will need immediate medical attention to prevent serious complications.

Cavity-causing tooth decay can even spread from person to person when:

  • Kissing
  • Sharing toothbrushes or utensils
  • Storing toothbrushes next to each other 

How to Stop Tooth Decay from Spreading

The best way to stop the spread of tooth decay and prevent cavities is to take preventative action! To stop tooth decay in its tracks, you should:

  • Brush at least twice a day
  • Floss daily
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Never share toothbrushes or utensils
  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and beverages
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings and exams

Treating the cavities you have can also help to prevent new ones from developing. Cavity treatment is a simple, painless process. First, your dentist cleans out the cavity by removing any decayed parts of the tooth. Then, they will fill the cavity with composite resin to prevent more damage. Keep in mind that treatment is only effective as long as you maintain proper oral hygiene. 

Schedule a Teeth Cleaning in Gilbert

Professional teeth cleanings to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar buildup will protect your teeth from decay. For a gentle cleaning and exam, contact Lifetime Family Dental in Gilbert, Arizona. Let us know if you’ve noticed any signs of cavities such as tooth discoloration, tooth pain, or sensitivity. We’ll treat your cavities before the damage can spread to any other teeth. Call 480-558-4331 today to make an appointment.

Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (11/1/2021). Image by Giulia Marotta from Pixabay