How Long Does it Take For a Cavity to Form?

Caries are a condition that affects the tissue of the tooth. These tissues are destroyed by the acid contained in the plaque. Affected teeth usually deteriorate gradually and cause pain when the infection reaches the nerves.

Children and adolescents are usually most affected by tooth decay. This is related to the consumption of sweets and other sugar products. However, it is important to have regular examinations, as tooth decay can appear at any age.

Caries are one of the most common forms of cavities among children in the United States. They affect about 20 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 11.

Multiple factors, such as oral hygiene and diet, can affect the rate of caries progression.

How are cavities formed?

Caries are tooth damage caused by untreated cavities. Caries progress over time due to factors that worsen oral health, such as not brushing your teeth and eating a sugar-rich diet.

The following are the various stages of caries that lead to caries progression.


Enamel decalcification is the first stage of tooth decay. This occurs when teeth are repeatedly exposed to acids from food.

At this stage of caries, proper oral hygiene and exposure to fluoride can usually undo the damage.

Enamel deterioration

Continuous demineralization of enamel leads to more caries over time. This rot can eventually cause tooth decay or tooth holes called cavities.

Once the cavities are fully formed, they are irreversible and require treatment.

Dentin caries

The collapse continues to progress without intervention, so the collapse reaches the dentin of the tooth. Dentin is the soft tissue beneath the enamel and is very sensitive.

When cavities reach dentin, they can be soft and painful. At this point, you may need larger fillings, inlays, and even crowns.

Pulp collapse

Below the dentin is the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. When the cavities reach the pulp, the teeth deteriorate faster, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.

In most cases, the rot that reaches the pulp requires root canal treatment.


As the bacteria can cause tooth decay to continue to spread under the pulp, tooth abscesses develop. These bacteria cause infections and pockets of pus under the teeth.

Some abscesses go unnoticed until the pain and swelling become intolerable. Tooth abscesses require immediate treatment and can lead to tooth extraction.

How long does it take to get cavities?

Unfortunately, there is no accurate timeline for how long it will take for caries to form. This is because oral hygiene varies from person to person. Caries do not form overnight. Instead, the disassembly process is gradual. After ingesting sugar in the diet, the plaque in the mouth produces acid, which slowly eats up the enamel and causes some damage that requires a filling, crowning, and treatment. It will take months or years. Root canal treatment by your doctor. However, certain factors can accelerate the formation of caries.

For example, weaker enamel, such as children under the age of 6, is more prone to cavities, and therefore, cavities form in a shorter amount of time. Poor dental hygiene, unhealthy diets rich in sugar and low in nutrients to strengthen teeth, tobacco use, and bruxism also increase susceptibility to tooth decay. However, when eating properly, protect your teeth with an exercise mouthguard or nightguard, brush your teeth daily, expose your teeth to plenty of fluorides, and visit the dental office every six months to clean. And when doing tests, it helps to stop the progression of cavities. However, if you begin to neglect proper oral care habits, the cavities will return to orbit and cause permanent enamel damage.