North River Dental Care

What Causes Cavities?

Brunette woman cringes in pain and touches her cheek because a cavity is causing a toothache

At North River Dental Care, we strive to help our patients prevent dental disease with superb oral health habits. Tooth decay and cavities are common dental issues. In this blog post, we discuss what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Cavity Formation 101

When bacteria in your mouth feast upon your dietary sugars and starches, they produce acids. Over time, these acids dissolve the mineral structure of your tooth enamel, which is the protective outer layer of your teeth. If weakened enamel is not sufficiently remineralized, it will deteriorate and develop pits and holes called cavities. Both baby teeth and adult teeth can develop cavities if the right preventive steps aren’t taken!

Risk Factors for Cavities

Patients most at risk for tooth decay and cavities are those who have poor oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing are critical for removing bacteria and food particles from your mouth. If bacteria is allowed to accumulate into a sticky film of plaque along your teeth and gums, you also increase your risk of gum disease and infection.

Those who consume a diet high in sugar and starch are more prone to cavities, since oral bacteria are well-fed and produce more damaging acids.

Another condition that can increase your risk for cavities is dry mouth. In a mouth that produces plenty of saliva, saliva helps rinse and remineralize teeth. Patients with dry mouth do not produce enough saliva to effectively clean teeth, making them more vulnerable to decay.

Certain medications, tobacco products, and health conditions that are associated with widespread inflammation can also increase your risk for cavities.

How to Prevent Cavities

With a few lifestyle changes, you can greatly reduce your risk for cavities. First off, improve your oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes each time, floss each day, and visit our office regularly for cleaning and exams. Additionally, consume a balanced diet. Limit your sweets intake, drink plenty of water, and eat an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. You should also avoid tobacco products.

To ask us any questions about how to prevent dental disease or to schedule your next appointment at North River Dental Care, please contact our office today!

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