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What's the measurement to determine a CAVITY?

My husband had his teeth cleaned in mid January.  He was supposed to have another one at least a couple of months ago, yet the dental office kept posponed due to their computer problem and building flood for 3 times.

Thus, he went to a new dental office.  This new one found 6 cavities, which were never mentioned back in January when he had the annual x-rays.  He brushed 3 times and flossed twice daily.  He always had to brush and floss right after eating the breakfast, to go to work.  He swished after his lunch first, waited 5-10 minutes, and then brushed.  After supper at home, he tended to be relaxed and lazy and did not brush or floss until bed time.

Within these 8 months between the cleaning in January and early October, how could his teeth developed cavities so quickly and so much?

Is there a standardized way to determine a cavity Amon the majority of dentists?  Or even if there is a tiny black spot on a tooth, then it's called cavity?

Thanks in advanced for clarifying this.
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