December 7, 2019
Does it feel like you get more cavities than you should? Do you brush for a full two minutes twice a day, floss regularly, and use mouthwash, but still end up with one or two every time you see your dentist? It can be particularly irritating if you have a friend or family member who doesn’t have great dental habits like you, and yet they seem to get fewer cavities! If this sounds familiar, you may be more prone to tooth decay than others. Answer the following questions to see what might be increasing your chances of getting a cavity, and what you can do about it!
Do You Snack Throughout the Day?
Cavities aren’t necessarily about how much sugar you’re eating, but how long those sugars stay in your mouth. If you eat a slice of cake and brush your teeth right afterward, you’ll remove a lot of those sugars. On the other hand, if you’re snacking throughout the day, your teeth are exposed to lingering sugars for hours. The longer sugars stay on your teeth, the more cavities they can form.
If you’re an all-day snacker, a few simple changes to your eating habits can reduce the number of cavities you get. Limit how often you eat, and don’t let yourself mindlessly graze on snacks as you work, do chores, or watch TV. Try healthier snack alternatives that can help you reduced tooth decay like sugar-free gum, raisins, apples, almonds, and cheese
How Do Your Teeth Look?
For some mouths, it’s the natural shape or position of teeth that increase the risk of cavities. Teeth with deep grooves or overcrowded, crooked teeth create spaces that sugars and bacteria can get to, but the bristles on your toothbrush can’t. These hard to clean nooks and crannies are the perfect place for tooth decay to form.
Thankfully, your dentist can reach those hard to get places. When you go in for your regular checkups and cleaning, they can thoroughly clean out and sanitize your grooved or overcrowded teeth to help fight off future bacteria. While you’re there, you can ask your dentist if dental sealants or orthodontics would help lower your risk of cavities as well.
Do You Have Allergies or Asthma?
Allergies and asthma usually go hand in hand, and they can both increase your chances of getting cavities by causing dry mouth. Your saliva is responsible for constantly rinsing sugars off your teeth and strengthening your enamel. If your mouth is dry, there’s no saliva to protect your enamel or hinder the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. What’s worse is that allergy medications and asthma inhalers often also cause dry mouth!
The solution is not to stop taking lifesaving or life-improving medications for your asthma, allergies, or any other conditions that cause a chronically dry mouth. The key is to stay as hydrated as possible. Consciously making an effort to drink extra water throughout your day will rinse out your mouth and encourage your mouth to produce saliva. For even more support, try using an enamel-strengthening mouthwash every night.
Of course, one of the best ways for anyone to reduce cavities is to see your dentist for checkups and cleanings every 6 months. If you’re cavity prone, regularly seeing your dentist and identifying what’s increasing your risk of cavities can help you maintain a happy, healthy smile for years to come!
About the Author
Torbram Dental provides general, preventive, and family dentistry in Brampton, ON. Our experienced team of dentists tirelessly completes numerous courses of continuing education to stay updated in the latest advances in dentistry. They are passionate about preventive dentistry and helping patients maintain healthy, cavity-free smiles. If you’d like to know more, they can be reached via his website or at 1(905)792-7163.
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