Cavities affect people of all ages. A 2015 study from the CDC and the National Institutes of Health found that almost every American – 96 percent – aged 65 or older reported tooth decay. The Mayo Clinic also found that cavities and tooth decay are some of the most common health problems in the world.   

The best way to understand cavities is to go to the root of the problem. First, what are they? Second, how do you prevent them and avoid unnecessary pain?

What is a Cavity?

A cavity is a permanently damaged area in the surface of your tooth. Eventually, it leads to holes due to a build-up of plaque, which erodes the enamel. While it is true that they are more commonly found in children and the elderly, the risk of getting a cavity is universal. 


Cavities can cause visible symptoms, but that’s not always the case. Regular dental exams are recommended to scope out underlying signs before it’s too late. Signs that you have a cavity include:

  • Toothache and/or sudden tooth pain
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while eating
  • Visible marks – holes or pits in your teeth or staining on any surface of the tooth

Note that ongoing symptoms could arise – and worsen – after the first indication of a cavity. These symptoms tend to be a bit more problematic and can include an infected abscess, pus forming around the infected tooth, a higher risk for chipping or breaking your tooth, and increased pain while chewing.

Cavity Treatments

At Surf City Dental, we provide multiple solutions for addressing cavities. Through our patient-focused philosophy of care, we’ll create a treatment plan that makes the most sense for you. This might include:


We may be able to treat the problem by cleaning the decay from the tooth and then simply filling the holes with composite resin.


For more severe cases, we can place a cap on your tooth after the decay has been cleared from the area. 

Preventing A Cavity

There are several steps that you can take when it comes to avoiding cavities. 

  1. Proactive check-ups at Surf City Dental – Dr. Parr and our Surf City Dental team recommend three annual visits to our office. Following this schedule lets us stay ahead of any early decay, delivering to you the necessary care for avoiding these uncomfortable hinderances.
  2. Brush your teeth with Fluoride Toothpaste after meals – Prevention starts after you eat. Since sugary and acidic foods can lead to enamel damage, it’s very important to rid food particles from your mouth.
  3. Floss at least once per day – Regular flossing can assist with improved oral health. It removes plaque and food particles from those hard-to-reach sections between your teeth. The best time to floss is after meals, before brushing and rinsing.
  4. Eat Tooth-Healthy Foods – Avoid foods that can easily get stuck in your mouth, like sugary products, snack foods (like chips), etc. Instead, add fiber rich foods like fruits (just not dried) and vegetables to your diet. These natural remedies can help keep gums and teeth clean.
  5. Rinsing your mouth with Fluoride – This simple daily act can assist removing plaque and killing bacteria.

The cavity epidemic is very real. Practicing healthy oral hygiene is the first step towards preventing them. If you suspect you might have a cavity, are feeling any type of unusual pain in your mouth, or just want to learn more about prevention, your Surf City Dental team is here to help!