A majority of the oral pain that people suffer comes from either gum disease or cavities. Cavities can be especially painful since they target the tooth itself. People of all ages can get cavities, though they’re most prevalent in children due to sugar consumption and the fact that they’re still learning good oral hygiene habits. So, what are cavities? Cavities are defined as “holes in the teeth that occur as a result of tooth decay and plaque.” The last thing that you want to hear when you go to the dentist is that you need a cavity filled. One of the best ways to prevent cavities from occurring is to know what causes them!
What Causes Cavities?
The two biggest perpetrators for causing cavities are bacteria and sugar. These two work together to form plaque, which attaches itself to your teeth and eats through the enamel. Once the enamel is gone, it begins to cause a hole in the tooth itself. The following things could be contributing to your vulnerability to cavities:
- Foods high in sugar or carbohydrates – Carbs will eventually break down into simple sugars, which work with bacteria to create plaque. Some of the worst foods for your teeth are sticky foods (think fruit snacks), cereal, and even bread. Avoiding these foods or making a point to brush directly after eating them will help you prevent cavities.
- Not brushing and flossing properly – A good oral hygiene routine coupled with eating the right foods is your best defense against developing cavities. Remember to brush at least twice per day and floss once to help remove plaque from the surface of your teeth as well as your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is also a good practice.
- Dry mouth – If you’re taking a medication that causes dry mouth, or if dry mouth has been a problem for you anyway, you are more susceptible to cavities. Your mouth uses saliva to wash away the acids, bacteria, and sugars that create plaque. When you aren’t creating enough saliva, the plaques sticks to your teeth instead, which can cause cavities.
The best way to prevent cavities is to make sure that you get regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist will be able to tell you if you’re at risk for cavities and, if so, how to remedy the situation. You should also make sure that you practice good oral hygiene at home. To set up an appointment for a checkup and routine cleaning with your Catonsville dentist, give us a call at 410-719-7900, or fill out our contact form. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Sources: Mayo Clinic