We all know that cavities aren’t a good thing, but if you find yourself plagued with them, do you know what you’re doing wrong? In this blog from Bauer Dental Company, we’re discussing the biggest faux pas when it comes to cavities and how you can up your oral hygiene game to ensure you banish them away for good.
Cavities form because food particles are left behind in the mouth. Plaque then feeds off lingering sugars and converts them into acids which slowly break down tooth enamel. Over time, this leads to cavities. Therefore, there are two necessary components for cavities to take place: sugar and bacteria.
With this knowledge, we can start to deduce what is causing your cavities. While many patients swear that they regularly brush and floss, it is usually flossing that takes a backseat. When flossing is neglected, this can cause interproximal cavities.
Interproximal cavities are cavities that form between the teeth, aka ⅓ of your tooth surface. Skipping out on flossing even just a few times can lead to cavities. However, if you consistently brush and floss every single day, then it could be your diet or Dry Mouth.
A diet high in acids or sugar, including carbohydrates that turn into sugar, put you at a higher risk of cavities. This is also the case if you are a frequent snacker. Because bacteria feed off of sugar, the more often you consume it, the less time your saliva has to wash it away and neutralize the acidity in your mouth.
It takes about 30 minutes for your mouth to return to normal pH levels. If you are constantly eating or sipping on a flavored beverage, you are creating a highly acidic environment. Those with Dry Mouth are also at an increased risk of cavities because there is not adequate saliva to wash away food particles and bacteria.
Finally, genetics also play a role in your oral health. If you find you are prone to developing cavities and so were your parents, you may have inherited a predisposition for cavities. This just means you need to be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene and take into consideration your hydration and diet.
To reduce your risk of cavities, first and foremost, you need to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste for 2-3 minutes. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, which also harbors bacteria.
Always floss between all of your teeth at least once a day, preferably before you brush. When you neglect the surfaces between your teeth, you are neglecting ⅓ of all of the tooth surfaces in your mouth.
You should also attend regular dental cleanings and checkups every 6 months, as recommended by the ADA. Those with a higher risk for cavities may need to go even more frequently. We can apply routine fluoride varnishes to your teeth for additional protection. Try to increase your fluoride intake through your drinking water, toothpaste, or mouthwashes.
Don’t neglect to think about diet and hydration. Reduce the amount of sugar, carbohydrates, and acidic foods and drinks that you are consuming. Keep hydrated by drinking water. If you do not have ample saliva production, find out if it’s a side effect of a medication or from a medical condition. You may need to chew on sugar-free gum or drink more water.
If you’re a cavity-prone patient, we highly recommend that you don’t skimp out on bi-annual dental cleanings and checkups. Early detection and prevention of tooth decay and gum disease is crucial to maintaining good oral and overall health. Contact us at Bauer Dental Company today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Christopher Bauer.