Cavities are caused by a specific type of bacteria known as Streptococcus Mutans. This bacteria feeds off sugars, and when it does this, it also produces an acidic byproduct. The acidic byproduct can damage your teeth and lead to cavities.
You’ve probably heard your dentist say that good home care and eating a healthy diet are essential for reducing cavities. Truly keeping a clean mouth is the best way to have a healthy mouth, right? While this is excellent advice, what about those who have meticulous homecare and a healthy diet yet seem to have cavities every time they visit the dentist?
While there is much that you can do to care for your teeth, it is vital to realize that so many things play into the causative nature of cavities. If you find yourself on the cavity wagon despite doing things correctly, you should keep reading!
Dry Mouth / Xerostomia
Xerostomia, also commonly called dry mouth, is when the salivary glands are produce significantly less saliva than average. Saliva serves so many purposes, but one of the main ones is that it helps to lubricate your mouth, flush debris from your teeth, and restore your oral cavity to an ideal pH. Dry mouth has the potential to lead to large cavities and lots of them.
Xerostomia can be brought on by different things. Cancer, radiation, and certain medications have been linked to causing dry mouth. Our dental team is very mindful of your health history as it is a crucial piece in your dental health. Providing an accurate health history is important in evaluating what may be causing your cavities.
Enamel is the hardest substance in your body, and it works as a protective barrier for your teeth. The enamel layer only covers the crown of your tooth, thus protecting the inner parts of your teeth from outside elements.
Your gum tissue is designed to cover the areas of your tooth that are not covered by enamel. Gum tissue wear and recession can happen over time, leading to exposure of the roots of your teeth. The root areas are not covered by enamel, and thus they are more susceptible to root cavities. Cavities developing at the gumline could be traced to gum recession in these areas.
Genetics play a role in your teeth as they do everything else in your body. Some people have genetically inherited weak or thin enamel. Perhaps a parent had weakened enamel and passed this down to their child. This can lead to a child being more susceptible to cavities even if they have excellent home care.
The enamel on your teeth is as thick as it will get. Many people wonder if they can grow thicker enamel. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As we age, enamel tends to wear down some through brushing or tooth-on-tooth wear. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush and staying away from abrasive kinds of toothpaste is recommended. Also, if you know you have been told that you clench or grind your teeth, investing in a bite splint is a good idea. A dental bite splint can help save your teeth from wear and tear.
We know how frustrating cavities can be, especially when working so diligently to care for your teeth! If you or a loved one find yourself in this situation, wondering why the cavities continue to wreak havoc on your teeth even though you’re doing the essential daily things to care for them, please don’t be too hard on yourself or them. Hopefully, the list above will help you evaluate other variables that could be contributing to your cavities. Together with our dental team, we can develop a plan to help you keep those cavities at bay.