Some people brush twice a day, floss daily, stay away from sweets, yet suffer from cavities a lot. On the other hand, there are those that do not prioritize oral health, yet rarely get dental problems. What’s up with that?
First of all, cavities come from dental caries, these are areas that have been decayed because of certain oral bacteria. As the decay worsens, the bacteria will invade the inner portion of the tooth known as the dentin, where it will cause an infection. When the problem has reached this stage, only a dental professional can help you deal with the pain, remove the infection, stop the disease in its tracks, and seal your tooth.
You need to understand that the disease itself requires a combination of different factors in order to progress. And it is possible for people to frequently suffer from cavities no matter how hard they maintain the proper oral hygiene simply because they have more of the conditions and risk factors. Although there are ways to minimize the risk, there is unfortunately, a lot of factors which are just impossible to control.
The risk factors for tooth decay
These include the following:
- Dry mouth – Without saliva, your mouth becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Saliva can help neutralize acids and it can help rebuild the enamel, without it, your means of preventing decay becomes inhibited. Some medications, diseases and therapies can cause dry mouth. To help counter this problem, you can drink lots of water or use rinses that will help protect and strengthen your teeth enamel.
- The quality of the dental hygiene – It is not just about regularly flossing and brushing your teeth. It is also about doing so correctly. Making sure that you are able to remove all food debris in between your teeth is very important. It is also important for you to see your dentist for routine checkups and cleaning.
- Your diet – What you eat has a profound impact on the condition of your teeth, eating sugary sweets and lots of carbohydrates can help make the bacteria within your mouth thrive and do more damage. On the other hand, consuming acidic foods and beverages can corrode your enamel, making it weaker and more susceptible to tooth decay.
- The shape of your teeth – The shape of your teeth will determine how susceptible they are to tooth decay. Teeth that have grown in the wrong locations, as well as back teeth that have tiny fissures can allow bacteria to flourish as they will naturally form areas which are difficult to clean.
- The condition of your gums – The tooth root is not protected by enamel, but it is covered by your gums. If you have gums that are receding, your teeth are actually at risk for tooth decay simply because it is now very easy for bacteria to harm your teeth by going directly through the roots.
- Bacteria – Cavities develop when bacteria are able to create plaque on the surface of your teeth. These microbes feed on the carbohydrates and sugars that you consume daily, producing acids on your teeth in return. The acids will then slowly dissolve your teeth enamel, making it very easy for the bacteria to go into the pulp of your tooth. There are different kinds of bacterial species that can cause dental caries, if you suffer from cavities frequently, your mouth may harbor ones that are more aggressive than the others.
- Other possible factors – Some people suffer from GERD or Gastro-esophageal reflux disease, this can make the conditions in your mouth very acidic and it can lead to the rapid deterioration of your teeth enamel. Some also use orthodontic appliances which serve important dental purposes but can actually increase plaque formation and limit the flow of saliva. People who wear braces for example, can have difficulties when it comes to flossing and brushing their teeth properly.
If you want to know more about your level of risk for tooth decay, or if you want to know how to protect your teeth better, you can talk with your dentist about it during your routine checkup and cleaning.