Most people, at some point or another, will develop a cavity, no matter how dedicated they are to oral health and hygiene. However, some people find themselves developing cavities much more often than others. Here’s the scoop on why some people are more prone to cavities than others, as well as a few tips to reduce your risk of tooth decay.
- Your overall health is definitely a factor in whether or not you are prone to cavities. Certain health conditions and/or medications can lead to dry mouth, which greatly increases your risk of tooth decay, as saliva fights cavities by washing away excess bits of food and bacteria from your teeth.
- Receding gums can also play a role. Genetics or gum disease can be the cause of gum recession. When your gum tissue starts to recede, harmful bacteria can develop in the pockets that form between your gum and your teeth. These bacteria can lead to tooth decay, and ultimately, cavities.
- Your diet is a huge factor in whether you are prone to cavities. If you have a sweet tooth or find it difficult to get through the day without sugary sodas or energy drinks, these habits can increase plaque formation on your teeth and lead to cavities. Unless you clean your teeth immediately after eating, sugars remain on and between your teeth and along your gum line. Bacteria in your mouth then feast on these sugars and leave behind a destructive waste product that erodes tooth enamel.
- The shape, alignment and composition of your teeth play a very large role in the presence of tooth decay. If your teeth have deep grooves in them or are misaligned, they are more likely to collect food particles and bacteria. In addition, genetics may have cursed you with thin tooth enamel, another factor in being prone to developing cavities.
If you have one or two (or even all) of these risk factors for developing cavities, don’t feel like you’re doomed to spend hours in the dentist’s chair getting your cavities filled. There are definitely ways you can keep your smile healthy and reduce your risk of developing cavities.
- Pay attention to your overall health and maintain healthy habits. A healthy diet and an active lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing conditions that can affect your oral, as well as overall, health.
- If you have dry mouth as a result of a health condition or a medication you are taking, drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep hydrated and provide your mouth with moisture. Also, talk to your dentist about other ways to combat dry mouth.
- Limit your sugary food and drink intake. And if you do indulge, make sure to either brush your teeth right away, or at the very least, drink water, after consuming a sugary food or beverage.
- Maintain good and consistent oral hygiene habits. Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day, and floss once a day, to remove plaque. You may also want to rinse with an antibacterial mouthwash to combat the bacteria in your mouth. Excellent oral hygiene also reduces your risk of developing gum disease and the gum recession that accompanies it.
- Visit your dentist regularly. Twice yearly dental cleanings contribute to cavity prevention, as can other dental treatments and procedures. For example, if you have deep grooves in your teeth, your dentist may recommend dental sealants. Or if you have thin enamel, your dentist may provide you with fluoride treatments to strengthen your enamel. Your dentist can also refer you to an orthodontist if your teeth are misaligned.