Do you keep getting cavities even when you brush and floss your teeth every day and see our dentist twice a year? Normally this helps lessen the harmful oral bacteria in plaque that hardens into tartar and calculus along your gum line. But if you still are cavity-prone, read on, because we have some tooth-friendly tips to help you prevent those unwelcome cavities!
The causes of cavities are multiple and can even depend on your age. Kids get cavities because they don’t always brush and floss like they need to, while teens and adults tend to get them because of the foods and drinks they constantly consume, along with unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. And seniors are vulnerable to cavities if their overall health is poor.
Dry mouth (or xerostomia) comes from a lack of saliva production. This happens when you aren’t drinking enough water throughout your day. It also happens from taking certain medications, as a cancer symptom, from the normal aging process, and even as a side effect of radiation in your head and neck. Cavities flourish when the mouth is dry because there is nothing stopping the oral bacteria from sticking to your tongue, cheeks, and teeth for too long. Insufficient saliva can’t continually wash away oral bacteria so it wears down your tooth enamel and the dentin layer below.
Your Family Tree
You may also be more prone to cavities because of your genetics and medical history. Conditions like malocclusion (affecting your bite), congenital disabilities or some rare diseases also increase your potential for cavities. For example, having heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can destroy tooth enamel.
A Cavity-Friendly Diet
This is one factor you can easily control because sugary and acidic foods and drinks wear down tooth enamel. The dangers lurk in soda, sticky candy, and even using a cheap mouthwash with sugar that sticks to your toothbrush (and braces). Cavities from oral acids eat away at the tooth enamel and the dentin layer below. This acid is created by the oral bacteria lingering in your mouth as the sugar and starches feed it, releasing cavity-causing acids.
Cavities and Your Heart
Did you know that cavity-causing tooth decay is almost as infectious as the common cold? In fact, when a tooth gets a cavity, it will lead to gum disease which can hurt your heart as well as your smile! That’s because the bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to your heart where they attach themselves to any problem areas you already have and cause inflammation. This can lead to endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart. The American Heart Association says that cardiovascular conditions like clogged arteries and stroke are linked to the inflammation from oral bacteria.
At Potomac Dental Centre, Dr. Everett Eklund and our team offer a wide range of comprehensive dentistry in Hagerstown, Maryland. If you have problems with your teeth, or if it’s time to schedule your next dental cleaning and exam, please don’t wait! Putting off needed dental care means giving cavities and gum disease a foothold. Please call 240-329-2398 today. We are always here for your smile!