No one wants to hear they have a cavity. Most of us were taught at a young age that brushing and flossing is how we prevent cavities. But what if you maintain five-star dental hygiene habits at home and still get told by your dentist that you have cavities? If you can’t blame your tooth decay on poor brushing and flossing, it may be time to investigate other reasons for your frequent cavities.
How Do Cavities Develop?
Dental cavities, also known as dental caries, are a type of tooth decay caused by the interaction between certain types of bacteria and the sugars and starches in the food we consume. Here is a breakdown of how a cavity develops in a tooth:
There are several types of bacteria that naturally live in our mouths, some of these bacteria can trigger the formation of cavities when combined with other substances.
When bacteria mix with food particles and saliva, they form a sticky film called plaque that coats the teeth. If plague is not removed regularly with your toothbrush, it can harden into tartar.
Harmful bacteria in the plaque feed on sugars and starches that we eat. In the process, it produces acid as a waste product, which is powerful enough to dissolve the minerals in your tooth enamel.
Over time, the acid produced by bacteria can erode the enamel and create a hole or cavity in the tooth. If left untreated, the cavity can grow larger and reach the underlying dentin layer, which is softer than enamel and more susceptible to decay.
Common Culprits to Consider
You don’t have to have be a candy addict or even have a sweet tooth to get cavities. Instead, consider the acids that may be in your mouth throughout the day. When acids combine with sugar, the increase for tooth decay increases exponentially.
If you get cavities as an adult despite your diligent oral hygiene routine, you may want to consider the following sneaky contributors to tooth decay:
- Sports/Energy Drinks
- Acid Reflux
- Dry Mouth
At Peninsula Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we value the importance of taking a comprehensive approach to cavity prevention, especially if you are an avid brusher and attend your routine dental exams. We help patients solve their frequent tooth decay issues by addressing cavities at the root cause. This can mean working with your primary care doctor to get a specific medical condition under control or cutting back on your daily soda habit. Cavities are almost always preventable. Call our Charleston dental clinic today to schedule your appointment.