Around 90 percent of American adults aged 20 and over have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. But cavities – also called tooth decay or carries – aren’t just common, they’re the most prevalent chronic disease in both adults and children. And the irony is, they’re also largely preventable.
One of the best ways to stop tooth decay in its tracks is to understand the causes of cavities and how to avoid them. Let’s take a closer look to find out more about cavity causes and prevention!
What You Need to Know About Cavities
Cavities are holes in your teeth that form when bacteria break down the tooth’s hard outer layer of enamel. If left for too long, the tooth decay can progress past the middle layer of dentin all the way to the central tooth pulp.
As the sensitive inner layers of the tooth become exposed to stimuli such as food and drink, this can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty eating. And more advanced cases of tooth decay can lead to infection, inflamed gums, and even tooth loss.
Anyone with teeth can get cavities, even babies. Although there’s less chance of this if parents don’t ignore these dental problems when they first spot them.
The Top Causes of Cavities
Understanding what leads to tooth decay is key for cavity prevention. Here are some reasons why you might be more at risk:
Sugary substances coat your teeth with enamel-eroding bacteria. But acidic foods and drinks such as coffee and soda are perfect for completing the all-out plaque attack on your teeth.
Ideally, you’ll want to cut down on these snacks and drinks. But if you do indulge, make sure to drink plenty of water afterward as this can help wash food particles away.
Saliva is your mouth’s first line of defense against lingering food particles. But if you’re having trouble producing enough saliva due to medication side effects, conditions such as diabetes, or smoking, cavities are often close behind. Another great reason to drink more water!
Substandard Dental Hygiene
If you want healthy teeth and gums that are free from cavities, you need to look after them. That means brushing and flossing with care twice a day. Many people doubt the importance of flossing but it’s your best weapon against the plaque that can linger between teeth and close to your gums.
Infrequent Dental Check-ups
Improving your dental hygiene routine is important for keeping day-to-day bacteria at bay. But that won’t be enough if you’re skipping dental check-ups.
Professional cleaning by a dentist twice per year is an essential part of good oral care. Plus, your dentist will be able to spot any early signs of cavities and fill them up before they get worse.
Your Guide to Cavity Causes and Prevention
The prevalence of cavities in American adults shows that they can be difficult to prevent altogether. But with this information on the causes of cavities to guide you, it should be a lot clearer what you need to avoid to increase your chances of cavity prevention.
Want more insightful health and lifestyle advice like this? Be sure to check out our other posts for all the latest tips and tricks!