What Actually Causes Cavities?

No one is immune to cavities. They can happen to anyone, toddlers, children, teens, young adults, or the elderly, at any time. If you want to try to avoid getting a cavity, it is important that you learn what causes cavities. Once you understand what causes cavities, you can make changes to your lifestyle, diet, and oral care to try and reduce your risk of developing a cavity.

What Really Causes Cavities to Form?

Ask anyone what causes cavities and they will probably tell you that sugar is responsible for cavities. Yes, sugar is connected to the development of cavities, but it isn’t what actually causes them. The bacteria in your mouth cause the cavities.

Each and every time you eat something that is sweet, whether it is fruit or candy or sweetener for your coffee, sugar enters your mouth. When the sugar gets into your mouth it instantly reacts with the bacteria that are naturally in your mouth. The reaction between the sugar and bacteria creates an acid. That acid is what causes the cavities.

The acid that forms is destructive. It can eat away at the strong enamel on your teeth. It starts out slowly and wears away at the enamel. If it is left to sit on your teeth, it will eventually wear a hole into the enamel and cause a cavity to form.

What Can Be Done to Avoid Cavities?

There are several different things you can do to avoid cavities, but the two most important things you can do is brush and floss on a regular basis and reduce your sugar intake. We will give you some tips and advice that will help you reduce your risk of developing cavities.

Some tips on how to improve your oral hygiene include:

  • Using a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Brushing at least three times a day. Ideally, you would brush after every meal, snack, or drinking sugary drinks. However, that is unrealistic. Brushing two to three times a day is sufficient.
  • Flossing once a day
  • Learning how to properly floss so that all plaque and tartar can be reached
  • Using an antimicrobial mouthwash
  • Regularly scheduling appointments with your dentist for a routine cleaning and examination

Reducing sugar consumption is more complicated and it can be done. Some suggestions on how to reduce sugar consumption include:

  • Monitor what you drink and eliminate sugary drinks. Sugary drinks include juices, fruit punch, lemonades, milkshakes, sweet coffee drinks, sodas, and even some alcoholic drinks.
  • Try and drink more water. The more hydrated you are the more your mouth produces saliva which will help reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth.
  • Drink more milk. Milk contains calcium, which can strengthen your teeth. The stronger your enamel is the harder it is for the acid to cause cavities.
  • Add additional water to any sugary drinks. This will water it down and help cut back on sugar.
  • Do not add additional sugar to food. Try to eat them in their natural state.
  • Watch the types of processed food you eat. Processed food often has added sugar. The sugar preserves the food but will create the acid that can wear away at your teeth.
  • Eat healthier snacks when you wish to snack. Do not go for sugar-filled products such as candy bars or gummy candy. Pick fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
  • Avoid having candy and other sugary treats in the house. If they aren’t around, you won’t be tempted to eat them.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Local Dentist

Your local family dentist can help give you personalized tips on how to avoid cavities. If you live in the Cocoa Beach area, consider scheduling an appointment with Cocoa Beach Family Dentistry.

Our family dental clinic can help you discover what changes you need to make to reduce your risk of developing cavities. We can provide dietary advice and help you discover ways to reduce your sugar intake so cavities are less likely to develop. We can also help you learn how to properly brush and floss. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a routine examination and cleaning. We look forward to seeing you soon!