Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth feeding off of sugar and carbohydrates (which break down into sugar) and converting them into acids that attack the tooth enamel, eventually causing holes known as cavities.
A cavity is an early stage of tooth decay that will get worse with time. However, there are lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of developing cavities. Read on in this blog from Eagle Mountain Dentistry to find out what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.
The biggest causes of cavities are a combination of a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates and practicing inadequate oral hygiene. If you thoroughly brush and floss your teeth, there shouldn’t be left-behind food particles for lingering bacteria in your mouth to feed off of.
Frequent snacking and dry mouth are other factors that greatly increase your risk for cavities. Your saliva helps to prevent cavities by washing away left behind food particles and neutralizing the pH of your mouth to reduce acidity.
Saliva also coats your teeth in a film of minerals that strengthen the tooth enamel. However, if you don’t stay hydrated or have an underlying condition that causes dry mouth, then the food particles that are left behind after a meal aren’t being washed away and you’re creating the perfect conditions for cavities to form.
Frequent snacking works in a similar way because the more often you eat, the more sugars are converted into acids that attack your tooth enamel. There is little time left for the pH of your mouth to return to normal.
Tooth location is also an important factor because the teeth located in the back of the mouth (the rear molars) are at a higher risk of developing cavities because they have much more pits and grooves that can trap food particles and bacteria.
Genetics can also affect your cavity risk. Some people are naturally more cavity-prone than others. Your genes can influence things such as the shape of your teeth, the strength of your enamel, and your saliva. Genetics can even influence your body’s immune response to bacteria.
The good news is that the vast majority of cavities are entirely preventable by practicing good oral hygiene, attending regular dental appointments, and eating a healthy diet. You should reduce your consumption of carbohydrates and sugar and limit snacking to reduce your risk of cavities.
Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. Floss once a day and attend regular dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months. You should try to drink fluoridated water or get regular fluoride treatments that will mineralize your teeth and protect them from cavities.
If you are prone to developing cavities in the rear teeth, we can place dental sealants to keep out bacteria and food particles in the deep grooves of these teeth.
Are you due for a dental cleaning? The ADA recommends that everyone, no matter their age, attends a dental cleaning once every 6 months to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Contact us at Eagle Mountain Dentistry today to schedule a preventive dental appointment.
We want our new patients not using insurance to start off with the best care available. Schedule an appointment today and get a cleaning, exam, X-Rays, and a free consult or second opinion for only $99.
Using insurance? You can benefit too! We are offering a complimentary teeth whitening treatment for all new patients using insurance.
*New patients only. Not valid in cases of periodontal disease. Not valid for use with insurance.