Most people have had to have a cavity filled, but do they really know what caused the cavity in the first place? Cavities form when bacteria in your mouth attaches to the enamel on your teeth. This bacterium attracts more and more bacteria, which attaches to proteins in your saliva and forms plaque. It is impossible to completely avoid the accumulation of plaque. However, it is essential to remove it so it can’t form cavities. What then are the top causes of cavities and how can you avoid them?
What you eat has a significant impact on the likelihood that you will get cavities. Foods that tend to stay in your mouth for a long period of time, or that stick in your teeth are especially dangerous. These may include raisins, dried fruit, cookies, cake, gummy candy, chips and milk. Basically, you want to stick to foods that will easily wash out of your teeth when you drink a glass of water. If you do eat something sticky, brush your teeth as soon as you can.
Your eating habits can also influence the prevalence of cavities. Instead of snacking frequently throughout the day, eat bigger meals at scheduled times of the day. Snacking gives bacteria more acid to produce cavities. If you do snack, stay away from sugary products like candy or soda. Instead eat fruits and vegetables, which can actually help clean the teeth.
Brushing and Flossing
Everyone knows that if you don’t brush or floss properly, you are more likely to get cavities. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Additionally you should floss to get at the plaque in areas a toothbrush cannot reach. It also doesn’t hurt to brush at other times during the day, especially if you eat something sugary or sticky. Pack a toothbrush with you to school or work.
Pay attention to how your dentist teaches you to brush. Take your time. Don’t rush through it, even if you are rushed in the morning. Most dentists will recommend spending at least two minutes brushing.
Other Health Factors
Other elements of a person’s health can be a cause of cavities. Dry mouth for example, which is caused by a lack of saliva, is a significant cause of tooth decay. Saliva is essential in washing away food particles in the mouth. There are also substances in the saliva that counter the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth.
Another health issue that can increase the chanced of tooth decay is eating disorders. Stomach acid from purging comes in contact with teeth and can deteriorate the enamel. People with eating disorders also frequently drink soda and acidic drinks throughout the day, leading to tooth decay.
The same is true of heartburn, which causes stomach acid to seep through your mouth causing deterioration of the enamel. Additionally, cancer treatment that includes radiation to the head and neck can decrease saliva production, which increases the risk of getting a cavity.