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You may know the feeling – biting down on food and all of a sudden a sharp pain runs down your tooth and through your jaw. This is the most prominent symptom of cavities. Nobody wants cavities, but even the cleanest teeth can be susceptible to enamel erosion and bacteria intrusion.
At LA Dental Clinic, we monitor our patients and practice preventative dental procedures to minimize our patients’ risk of cavities.
We want you to be aware of the risk factors that can cause and lead to cavities. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the reason you might be getting cavities and what you can do about it.
Risk Factors That Lead To Cavities
Improper Oral Healthcare
Many people fail to brush and floss their teeth regularly. You’ve probably been told this before, but this is a leading risk factor for cavities and is also the easiest problem to prevent. It is necessary to brush your teeth twice a day, or once after every meal.
It is also necessary to floss your teeth once a day. These simple oral hygiene habits can dramatically reduce a patient’s risk of getting cavities.
Bacteria and the Process of Erosion
Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth. They consume simple sugars left over after a person eats food. The bacteria convert these sugars into highly acidic materials, that can be identified as plaques. Plaque can build up on the patient’s teeth and its acidic makeup eats away at tooth enamel.
Areas, where tooth enamel has been dissolved, are susceptible to bacteria. Holes in the teeth form as this process of erosion continues.
When you brush your teeth, you are killing and displacing these bacteria. They are also removing acidic residue on their teeth. In doing this daily, a patient can avoid the buildup of harmful, cavity causing plaques, and essentially, prevent cavities.
It is also necessary to follow up brushing with flossing, because your toothbrush can only reach the front and back of your teeth. Dental floss actively cleans the sides of your teeth. When you skip flossing, you are only cleaning half of your teeth.
Crowding In Teeth
Crowded teeth are another risk factor for cavities. When your teeth crowd together, parts can overlap. This makes it very difficult to reach all of your teeth when you brush and floss them.
You can have horrible cavities as a result, even if you have a proper oral health care regime. If you have crowded, crooked or overlapping teeth, it is best to talk with your dentist about orthodontic solutions.
Sometimes your tooth crowding can be prevented by braces or Invisalign. In more serious cases of dental crowding, your dentist can extract teeth that are badly displaced.
Tooth extractions can also be combined with braces or Invisalign to realign teeth after the crowded teeth have been removed.
This helps to prevent dental shifting and keeps your teeth from moving around in the wrong direction after there have been teeth removed.
Poor Dietary Habits
Some people with healthy teeth and good dental habits still wonder why they get cavities when they maintain a poor diet, high in sugars and carbohydrates.
Foods That Can Cause Cavities
- Sugar rich foods like candy
- Pop or soda
- Bread or pasta
- Any food high in starch
These are some common foods that you will want to avoid when you are trying to prevent against cavities.
The bacteria in your mouth rely on simple sugars to stay alive. When you eat candy, drink soda, and consume large quantities of bread or other carbohydrates, your teeth, as well as the rest of your body, will suffer the consequences.
The more sugars there are leftover in your mouth, the greater the chances are that bacteria will convert the sugars to dangerous, tooth-eroding acids. The simple solution is to eat less sugary foods.
Another, less discussed dietary habit is substance abuse. Smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking excess alcohol and certain medications can all dramatically affect the levels of acidity in your mouth. Substance abuse can also lead to periodontal disease.
The gums can become irritated and cause harmful bacteria to enter beneath and access the roots of your teeth.
Certain eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, even certain cases of heartburn can cause bile, the acidic contents of your stomach to enter your mouth. This bile can erode your tooth enamel much faster than the acid from bacteria.
The purging behavior associated with eating disorders leaves an acidic film over the teeth and within the mouth. This means that your teeth are constantly being soaked in eroding acid, and can be degraded at a much faster pace than with the help of bacteria alone.
It can lead to severe cases of cavities and other dental health problems like gingivitis and gum disease. It is best to talk with your doctor about healthier eating habits, or a counselor about your disorder. Your teeth will benefit greatly from being proactive and treating your underlying disorder.
In severe cases, acid can dissolve the teeth so badly that they break or even fall out. Avoid cavities and tooth loss by seeking assistance when it comes to eating disorders.
Poor Dental Upkeep
It is essential to visit your dentist at least twice a year to have your teeth professionally cleaned. During your appointment, your dentist will talk with you about your oral habits and you can ask questions about the best ways to care for your teeth.
Your dentist will also be able to inspect your mouth for any existing cavities and will recommend treatment plans like fillings to help prevent future loss within the tooth.
These frequent dental appointments are essential to proper oral health. When you visit your dentist you can ask about any of your current oral health concerns.
Another similar problem with regards to poor dental upkeep is old or broken fillings or crowns. If you have had a cavity in the past and the filling within the tooth is cracked or worn out over time, bacteria and the acids they create will once again have access to your teeth.
It is necessary to stay on top of your dental health and repair fillings when they are old. This keeps your teeth healthy and reduces your risk of eventually needing extractions or dental implants.
Come On In!
It is essential to stay on top of your oral health. When you come into the clinic, you are taking the first step in preventative dental treatments, to protect yourself and your oral health. Visit LA Dental Clinic and take the first step in cavity prevention.
If you think that your teeth may be at risk for cavities and want to know more about risk factors or how you can prevent them, come on into LA Dental Clinic today!