Reasons You May Have Cavities
Cavities are caused by tooth decay which is most commonly caused by the buildup of plaque on the tooth. This plaque reacts with sugars in the foods that we eat producing harmful acids that weaken the enamel which protects our teeth. This weakened enamel makes it much easier for cavities to develop. If you notice that you have a cavity, get it filled as soon as you can because if left untreated, the decay can then spread to other teeth. Cavities are most commonly caused by:
Poor Oral Hygiene Habits
This includes brushing, flossing, and even properly using mouthwash. You should brush your teeth after every meal for at least two minutes. Try to set a timer while you brush to make sure you are brushing for long enough. As for mouthwash, although it is not necessary to your daily oral hygiene routine, it is very beneficial. Use a fluoride rinse and gargle for at least 45 seconds to prevent plaque buildup and stop cavities from forming.
Sugary Food And Drinks
Again, the sugar in the foods we eat react with plaque causing harmful acids in our mouths that weaken our enamel, the hard surface on our teeth. It is suggested to brush your teeth after every meal because this reaction happens multiple times within one sitting. These sugar dependent germs can be cleaned out using a fluoride toothpaste. Often times, there is also fluoride found in water so try swapping out that soda or fruit juice for a water next time.
Acidic Food And Drinks
Unlike sugary food and drinks, acidic foods immediately attack and begin to harm the teeth. Some foods to limit or avoid due to high acidity include grains, sugar, some dairy products, fish, soda, other sweetened drinks, and high-protein foods. There are also many fruits that are highly acidic such as pomegranates, grapefruits, grapes, and even blueberries.
Issues With Dry Mouth
The saliva in our mouths helps to prevent the growth of plaque. Saliva contains certain components that help to offset the plaque acids but can also help in repairing tooth damage and decay if in the early stages. When people experience issues with dry mouth, the lack of saliva can generate tooth decay. Dry mouth is often caused by certain medications, certain medical conditions, and even smoking or chewing tobacco. If you think your dry mouth is caused by a medication you are taking, talk to your doctor about an alternate medication or an adjustment to your current prescription. Stay hydrated, visit your dentist regularly, and try chewing sugar free gum, it can accelerate saliva production by 10 times the normal rate!
Brushing Too Much
While not brushing enough is a problem, so is brushing your teeth too much. This can cause accelerated damage to the tooth enamel which in turn easily allows for decay to occur. Brush after every meal or at least two times a day but keep in mind that over brushing is also harmful to your teeth.