Cavities are for kids, right? Wrong. If you have natural teeth, it doesn’t matter your age, gender or ethnicity; you are at risk for tooth decay. While it is true that children are more prone to cavities, that doesn’t mean you can’t get them as an adult. In fact, there are some surprising factors that cause cavities – and it’s not just from eating sticky candy or not brushing your teeth!
What are Cavities?
You know cavities as that dreaded word from your dentist, and one that requires you to revisit the dental office for a filling. However, do you really understand what cavities – or dental caries – really are?
A cavity is essentially a hole in your tooth caused by decay. When food particles and bacteria build up on the surface of the tooth, they produce acids that erode the tooth enamel (outer layer of your tooth). If left untreated, the hold can grow wider and deeper into the tooth, eventually reaching the tooth pulp. When this happens, your tooth can become extremely painful and infected, and a root canal or even extraction may be necessary. Cavities, therefore, should not be taken lightly.
Top Causes of Tooth Decay
Why are you so prone to cavities? Cavities can develop from a combination of factors, including:
- Poor oral hygiene: Not brushing and flossing regularly allows food particles and bacteria to build up on and between teeth, leading to the development of cavities.
- Sugary and acidic foods and drinks: Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar and produce acid that erodes tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Acidic foods and drinks also directly erode tooth enamel.
- Dry mouth: Saliva helps to neutralize acid and wash away food particles and bacteria. A lack of saliva due to certain medications, medical conditions or aging can increase the risk of cavities.
- Genetics: Some people may be more prone to cavities due to their genetics.
- Tooth shape and position: Deep grooves or pits in the teeth, or teeth that are crowded or difficult to clean properly, can increase the risk of cavities.
- Age: Both children and older adults are more susceptible to cavities. Children’s teeth are still developing and vulnerable to decay, while older adults may have receding gums that expose the tooth root to decay.
- Oral bacteria: Certain types of bacteria in the mouth are more likely to cause cavities than others.
Let us Help Protect Your Smile
If you have factors that make increase your risk for cavities, that doesn’t mean you have to get them. At Gainesville Dental Group, we can offer services to help protect your vulnerable smile, including fluoride treatments, sealants, more frequent cleanings and more.
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group