What causes dental cavities?
Cavities are caused by the presence of harmful bacteria and sugar. The former feeds on the latter to produce acids that eat through the tooth enamel (tooth’s hard outer surface). When the enamel is exposed to acid frequently, the repeated “acid attacks” will cause the enamel to lose minerals. As this process continues, the enamel is weakened over time, and eventually destroyed, causing a cavity (hole) in the tooth. It becomes a permanent damage to our natural teeth.
Did you know? Our mouths are filled with hundreds of different types of bacteria living in our mouths, some of them are harmful and some of them are good.
How to prevent dental cavities?
In order to prevent permanent damage from happening, one needs to reduce the presence of harmful bacteria and reduce the intake of sugar.
The presence of harmful bacteria can be reduced by brushing and flossing. These habits are very important as they help to remove dental plaque and reduce the amount of bacteria that are stuck to the teeth.
Nonetheless, solely brushing and flossing is not enough. One needs to pay attention to what one eats and drinks, as well as the frequency. If one tends to snack or sip on sugary beverages often, there is a constant supply of food for the bacteria to work on to produce acids, causing an acidic environment in the mouth. Also, while healthy foods such as fruits, breads, crackers may be good snacks – they too create an acidic environment in the mouth.
Did you know? Not only sweets, cakes or soft drinks are considered cariogenic (“decay causing”) foods.
Our saliva plays a very important role in helping to neutralize the acidic environment in our mouth. If one’s saliva production is reduced, it becomes more likely for the teeth to be carious as well.
Saliva production can be reduced due to:
- Chronic dehydration
- Damaged salivary glands
- Breathing through the mouth
Therefore, see a dental specialist / dental surgeon if you find that you frequently have dry mouth. During your six monthly checks with your dental professional, a thorough check on your dental condition is done. During then, the initial stages of tooth decay can be picked up early, and any treatment recommendations can be implemented in a timely manner.
In summary, why one keeps getting cavities even after brushing and flossing diligently is generally due to diet. Only in some cases, it may be due to genetics. Seek help from your dental professional if you are experiencing this issue so that they can advise appropriately.
Related Blog: Read “8 Things You Need To Know About Cavities“