Cavities are created by the presence of acidic conditions in the mouth and the activity of bacteria that destroys the enamel of the teeth. The causes of tooth decay are easy to minimize, however, with attention to good diet and oral hygiene. The professional staff at All About Smiles Family Dental, in Ash Flat, AR, describe the most common causes of cavities, and their prevention, below.
3 Common Causes of Cavities
1. Poor Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing regularly are the most basic and important aspects of oral hygiene. Brushing alone is not enough, as up to 30% of the tooth’s surface remains uncleaned. Regular oral care helps keep the formation of plaque, a sticky coating that causes decay, to a minimum. For the best results, floss before you brush and use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Keeping your mouth clean prevents cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
2. Dry Mouth
Saliva naturally occurs in the mouth to break down foods and start the process of digestion. Saliva also lubricates the mouth and moves bacteria and food particles away from teeth. When dry mouth occurs, either because of dehydration or another condition, there is not enough saliva to keep bacteria and food debris from collecting on the teeth. Up to 30% of older adults have tooth decay as a result of dry mouth.
Drinking water and avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, and soda can help with dry mouth caused by dehydration. However, many medications and health conditions may contribute to a lack of saliva. Persistent symptoms should be addressed by a doctor or dentist.
Sugar is acidic. When it comes in contact with the teeth, the bacteria naturally present in the mouth feeds on the sugars and produces more acid. This combines with food debris and additional bacteria to form plaque. It builds up on teeth, maintaining an acidic environment that erodes tooth enamel, making way for decay.
Soda, energy drinks, candy, gum, and starchy foods all contain or create sugars as they are broken down in the mouth. Keep sweets to a minimum and brush after eating sugary treats or food. If you can’t brush and floss right away, at least rinse your mouth well with water or mouthwash.
With good oral hygiene and a healthy diet, you can minimize cavities. All About Smiles Family Dental offers preventive care, restorative dentistry, and diagnosis and treatment of gum disease. Visit their website to learn more about their services or call (870) 994-7645 for an appointment today.