How Long Does it Take for a Cavity to Form?

Cavities are a common health condition as much as the common cold. The conditions are experienced widely in the world and are responsible for tooth loss or extraction. However, the procedure of teeth cavities does not just happen but takes time. However, there is no precise time or duration for a tooth cavity to form, but we can estimate how long it takes for cavities to develop by knowing how they form.

Cavities are holes in the dental formation created by acids secreted by bacteria in the plaque. Plaque is sticky and contains millions of bacteria and food particles. The food particles are used to feed the bacteria converting the sugar to acidic waste on the tooth. The acidity over time becomes corrosive and wears down the enamel, starting a tooth cavity.

How does a cavity form?How Long Does it Take for a Cavity to Form?

Here are the various stages of tooth decay that lead to a cavity.


The first stage results from exposure to acids from foods and bacteria. Demineralization can be prevented by proper oral hygiene and fluoride paste to brush.

Enamel decay

The next stage is the effect on the enamel. The tooth continues to decay after a while leading to holes called dental caries or cavities.

Dentin decay

The continued progression of the decay starts to affect the dentin part of the tooth. Dentin is a soft tissue and sensitive, which causes pain during tooth decay.

Pulp decay

The pulp is next. It contains nerves and blood vessels which cause faster decay, inflammation, swelling, and pain.


A dental abscess is a continued expansion of the tooth cavity by bacteria. The infection begins to grow pus, swelling, and unbearable pain.

Factors That Come Into Play

Many factors cause the formation of a cavity. These factors influence the duration and size of the cavity. However, these conditions may increase or decrease cavity formation in the mouth. These factors include;

  • Acid Levels – Cavities start as a result of acid levels. The higher the acid level, the easier the cavity to form.
  • The number of Acid Attacks – the amount of acid attacking a tooth also affects the time for a cavity to form in the mouth.
  • Location Where the Cavity is Forming – the decay on the enamel is faster because of minerals on the part compared to the dentin.
  • The thickness of the Tooth Enamel – the enamel is thicker than the gum line of the tooth, which means decay will happen faster near the gums than in other parts of the tooth.
  • Quality of the Tooth Enamel – Enamel with adequate minerals will take longer before getting infected with tooth cavity than enamel with few minerals.

So, the time taken for a cavity to form can be an average of six to five years before requiring treatment. The formation duration depends on a case-by-case basis due to the mouth’s daily activities. Thus, a cavity can start, but without the right conditions may not develop. So, it is best to visit the dentist every six months to get your dental checked out. The check-up will eliminate plaque and tartar from the mouth.

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