Most people have had at least one cavity in their life. This is a pretty common problem that, thankfully, a visit to the dentist will solve.
Have you ever wondered what causes cavities? The process of getting a cavity begins with the formation of plaque on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky film made from bacteria, and these bacteria like to feed on sugar. As they do, they release acids, which will stay stuck to your teeth and eventually damage their enamel.
If they are not stopped in time, bacteria and acids will attack your teeth, resulting in cavities. That’s why you should visit an emergency dentist Mississauga as soon as possible. A dental professional will treat your cavity problem quickly.
But why does plaque form on your teeth in the first place? Understanding what causes cavities will help you prevent them.
1. Sugary foods and drinks
When you consume sugary foods and drinks and don’t brush your teeth afterward, the bacteria inside your mouth feed on sugar, and your teeth slowly decay.
Some possible culprits include candy, chocolate, honey, jam, fruits, soda, fruit juices, smoothies, iced tea, alcoholic beverages, and any snacks and baked goods containing sugar. Sticky foods rich in sugar are especially bad for your teeth, and so are acidic drinks, top of being full of sugar.
This doesn’t mean you should never again consume foods and drinks containing sugar. It simply means you must remember to brush your teeth properly after enjoying them.
Tooth decay is reversible as long as you take good care of your teeth. When you get cavities, however, they will not simply go away on their own, even if you change your diet to consume less sugar.
2. Acidic foods and drinks
Acidic foods and drinks are also responsible for tooth decay. The acid they contain slowly damages enamel, making it easier for the bacteria to attack the inner layers of your teeth.
You don’t have to eliminate citrus fruits, apples, grapes, pineapples, fruit juices, sodas, energy drinks, tomato juice, and vinegar from your diet. You just have to brush your teeth properly after enjoying these acidic foods and drinks to help prevent plaque, tooth decay, and cavities.
Constantly feeling stressed and anxious is not good for your overall health. It can even harm your oral health and cause cavities.
When stressed, you might be clenching your teeth without even realizing it. Stress can also lead to teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. If you grind your teeth while you sleep at night, this will damage your tooth enamel and make it easier for bacteria and acids to attack the inner layers of your teeth.
Plus, stress can result in gum inflammation and gum disease and cause dry mouth.
4. Gum recession
Gum recession happens when the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth slowly pulls back or wears away. This process gradually exposes the roots of your teeth, leaving them more vulnerable. Plus, bacteria can hide between your gum line and your teeth, which isn’t a good thing at all.
Gum recession can be caused by different things, including teeth grinding, gum disease, tobacco use, hormonal changes, and aggressive tooth brushing.
5. Dry mouth
A dry mouth is a condition that occurs when your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva. It can make you feel like you are thirsty all the time or like your saliva is very sticky.
One of the purposes of your saliva is to neutralize acids and limit the growth of bacteria. Therefore, when you don’t produce enough saliva, bacteria grow, and your mouth becomes more acidic, which eventually can cause cavities.
A dry mouth can be caused by stress and anxiety, but it can also be a side effect of different medications.
6. Improper oral hygiene
Cavities are frequently caused by poor oral hygiene. To efficiently prevent cavities, you have to brush your teeth twice a day, ideally with toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps maintain the enamel of your teeth.
You also need to floss daily, to remove the food particles stuck between your teeth.
If you keep getting cavities, improving your oral hygiene routine should help you take better care of your teeth.
7. Never getting dental check-ups
It’s not always easy to spot the first signs of tooth decay. A dentist, however, can notice them in time to reverse tooth decay and prevent cavities. Never getting any dental check-ups doesn’t exactly cause cavities, but it robs you of an easy way to detect the early stages of cavities and treat them before they become worse.
To prevent cavities and other oral issues, visit your dentist regularly. You should consider scheduling a dental check-up every six months, even if you feel no problem with your teeth and gums.