Cavities are all caused by sugar, right? While that may be true at the most fundamental level it doesn’t include the various factors that contribute to and aid in causing cavities and gum disease. Some of them are obvious: not brushing and flossing is an obvious way to end up with cavities, but there are many you don’t realize!
There are things you do every day that make your chances of ending up with cavities increase a lot. At Edgewood Dental Care our primary goal is protecting your teeth. This goal is made easier by helping you understand all the risks that are posed to your teeth every day. We want to help you understand what you can do to prevent cavities with every last bit of info we can find!
What Causes Cavities?
There’s just one thing that actually causes the decay of your teeth: acid produced by oral bacteria. That acid is produced when bacteria metabolizes sugar in the foods you eat and over time it can erode your teeth deeper and deeper.
Contributing factors are everywhere, from diet to home care habits. We want to cover the not-so-obvious stuff that lies in between those two extremes: the things you might not even realize that are damaging your teeth.
Do You Drink A Lot Of Water?
Ever have a physically demanding day and end up with a dry mouth? That feeling and taste is horrible, isn’t it? You might not realize it but the sensation of a dry mouth is caused by oral bacteria. When your mouth is dry bacteria is able to spread without saliva to keep it in check, greatly increasing your chances of tooth decay!
It’s important to stay hydrated not only because water is good at eliminating acid, bacteria, and food particles, but also because hydration helps to produce saliva that fights tooth decay in the same ways as water. Don’t substitute water for anything else either: it’s important that you’re drinking enough every day.
Medications Can Complicate Oral Health
A lot of the different medications you may take for sinus trouble, allergies, depression, or anxiety can have dehydrating effect on you that puts you at the same risk when you don’t drink enough water. If you take any of these medications over the counter or by prescription you should check with your prescriber to find out if a dry mouth is a known side effect.
You can easily counter these problems by drinking more water than usual, so be sure to stay hydrated if you are on any medication that can cause these sorts of side effects!
Overly Vigorous Brushing
Proper oral health care might seem like a no brainer: just brush and floss, right? There’s actually a bit more that you need to do than that. Brushing too hard can actually cause a lot of damage to your teeth that can contribute to cavity development!
If you brush too hard you can cause a few problems, the most severe of which is gum recession. When your gums recede you expose the sensitive roots of your teeth. The roots have far less enamel to protect them, leading to cavities that develop a lot faster.
Hard brushing can also cause damage to your enamel – it’s pretty surprising but it’s true! Your enamel is tough but stiff bristles can scratch and scrape it away over time. We recommend always using a soft bristled toothbrush and brushing your teeth firmly but gently. Overdoing it is a serious risk to the long-term health of your teeth.
Metal fillings have to be cemented to your teeth. Over time, usually by about ten years, portions of the cement has probably worn and broken off. This leaves a lot of little spaces for bacteria to get into the inside of your teeth, causing decay that’s even more devastating because it’s so hard to find!
Fillings generally last about ten years, so if you have any that are older than that you should definitely consider replacing them at Edgewood Dental Care!
The Best Technique: Regular Dental Care
There’s no better way to protect your teeth than with regular dental care. A cleaning and exam every six months is essential to maintaining your oral health, and our Edgewood dentist office would love to be your oral health destination.