Getting a cavity is an unpleasant experience — and a painful reminder that teeth, unlike bones, can’t heal themselves once they’re damaged.
Cavities are the product of a tug-of-war happening every day in your mouth. Teeth are surrounded by super-hard minerals that form the enamel. Acid from sugary, starchy foods wears down that enamel. Saliva comes to the rescue with buffers, enzymes, and water that raise the pH in the mouth. That allows the minerals that make up the enamel to build back up.
A cavity forms when there’s too much acid for saliva to balance back out. And when the tooth erodes, there aren’t any living cells around to swoop in and heal the tooth.
We investigate how teeth get harmed and why they can’t heal in the new episode of “Boddities.”
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