If you’ve never had a cavity before, you’re lucky. It turns out that 90% of adults over age 20 have experienced at least one cavity throughout their lives. These oral health problems usually don’t turn into more significant issues unless you leave them untreated. Then, they can necessitate a root canal or tooth replacement.
Some patients get frequent cavities, which may lead to excessive oral health concerns. Does that sound like you? Here are six reasons why you might be prone to cavities.
How Does Tooth Decay Happen?
Each tooth in your mouth has three layers: enamel, dentin and pulp. If you have tooth decay, you have excess acid in your mouth, which breaks down each layer until you have irreversible oral health issues. It’s a pretty straightforward process.
First, the enamel will erode. Then, the acid will reach your tooth’s center, where a cavity can form. If you don’t treat tooth decay from that point, you can experience substantial pain — and even lose teeth. That’s why regular dental checkups are crucial.
There are various explanations for tooth decay.
1. Certain Foods and Drinks
Everyone has bacteria in their mouths. These microscopic cells can be both bad and good, and you need to maintain a balance between them in your body overall. If you add specific elements to the mix, you can cause adverse reactions.
That’s what happens when you eat excess sugar. Certain harmful bacteria in the mouth create and spread acid when they encounter sugar. This occurrence demineralizes your tooth enamel, which will eventually lead to tooth decay when ignored.
Therefore, you need to avoid foods and drinks with particular ingredients, including sweets, alcohol, soda and citrus.
2. Personal Tooth Anatomy
Everyone’s teeth are arranged in various patterns. If your adult teeth came in crooked or misaligned, you probably can’t reach some places where plaque can form. Therefore, even when you regularly brush and floss your teeth, you may still have tooth decay.
It’s also possible to experience frequent cavities when you fix your mouth’s alignment. If you wear aligners or retainers, your saliva can’t keep the area clean because the equipment creates a barrier. While your mouth gear won’t always cause cavities, you may see more than usual.
3. Excessive Dry Mouth
Without saliva, we’d have various health issues. This moisture helps wash away food debris and limit germs and bacteria, which can all inhibit our oral hygiene. If you have dry mouth, you’re more likely to experience cavities because you don’t have enough saliva to neutralize the acids.
Numerous variables can cause dry mouth. If you’re taking specific medications, you might experience dry mouth as a side effect. Conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease can also reduce saliva flow. Genetics may play a role, as well.
Be sure to talk to your dentist about dry mouth so you can find a remedy.
4. Gum Recession
When your gums recede, your tooth’s root becomes exposed. This area isn’t protected by the tooth’s enamel, which creates a prime environment for tooth decay. If you have gum disease, your gum tissue will recede due to the bacteria. Different causes, like hormones, tobacco and genes, can play a role, as well.
A dentist can repair your gums with tooth scaling and root planing techniques that deep clean the area. However, you may need gum surgery to treat excess bone loss that may have occurred. It depends on the situation.
Here’s a cause you can’t do much to fix. Some patients just have genes that make them more susceptible to cavities. If your family members have had frequent cavities in the past, you might be likely to experience them, too. Other diseases, including oral cancer and gum disease, can stem from your ancestors, as well.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Fortunately, you can prevent cavities for the most part. It’s essential to have a proper oral hygiene routine that involves brushing and flossing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Be sure to schedule a dental appointment every six months so you can check in with your dentist, too.
Other habits make a difference, too. Do your best to avoid particularly sugary and acidic foods and drinks. It’s fine to enjoy them in moderation, but you shouldn’t go overboard. This change will keep the harmful bacteria at bay.
If you still have frequent cavities despite efforts to keep your mouth clean, you should speak with your dentist. There’s a chance you might have an underlying condition or predisposition to them. That’s something your dentist can help fix.
Tooth Decay Can Be More Common Than You Think
As you can see, you can blame frequent cavities on various causes. While many are preventable, you may experience tooth decay due to anatomy or genetics. Still, the solutions remain the same: prioritize your oral hygiene and eat a healthy diet. Don’t forget to consult your dentist, too.