Kids aren’t the only ones who get cavities (though they tend to corner the market on how many cavities they get). Many adults also get cavities on a fairly regular basis. In fact, approximately 92% of adults ages 20-64 have had a cavity in their permanent teeth – unfortunately, 23% of them go untreated. Untreated cavities and decay can cause infections and other problems if they’re allowed to fester for long enough. One of the goals of dentists is to lower the amount of cavities that children and adults present with. The best way to prevent cavities is to know how they’re caused and what you can do to avoid getting them.
What Causes Cavities?
Tooth decay is the primary cause of cavities, so the more appropriate question is what causes tooth decay?
- Sugar – You’ve heard that sugary drinks and candies can cause cavities and tooth decay – it’s most certainly true, but it’s not the sugar itself that causes the problem. The bigger problem is that the sugar leaves substances that bacteria like to eat. They can cover your teeth in acid, which will eventually break down your teeth and cause decay. Try eating sugar free candy or doing your best to avoid sugar altogether.
- Acidic Foods – Fruit juice and citrus fruits are the worst for this. The best way to avoid letting them cause decay is to immediately brush after you eat or to chew gum with xylitol. Gum does double duty. It helps to get the food that’s stuck off of your teeth (and from in between) and also helps you produce more saliva. Your saliva works as an agent to combat acid left on your teeth.
- Poor Oral Hygiene – It doesn’t matter how well you eat if you’re not taking care of your mouth. Brushing your teeth makes it difficult for bacteria and plaque to eat away at the enamel of your teeth. It can help harden them and leave a protective layer of fluoride that plaque has a hard time getting through. Brushing and flossing regularly will help you keep your teeth longer and avoid cavities.
- Age – There’s obviously nothing you can do about this one, but it’s important to note that you can develop cavities as a result of getting older. Most older adults are surprised to find that they’re more susceptible to cavities since the common conception is that children are the most likely to develop them. Older adults lack saliva, frequently have some type of gum disease, and occasionally take medications that cause enamel to break down.
Having Your Cavities Treated
If you’re suffering from mouth pain and think it’s the result of a cavity, you need to see your Catonsville dentist ASAP to get it taken care of. Tooth decay can lead to more tooth decay, which can eventually cause you to lose your teeth altogether. Please make an appointment to see your Catonsville dentist if you feel that you have a cavity. You can contact Leikin & Baylin Dental Care of Catonsville, Maryland by calling 410-747-1115 or visiting CatonsvilleDentalCare.com.
Source: How Stuff Works, NIDCR
Disclaimer: The writer of this article is not a medical professional. Information contained herein has been collected from sources believed to be reliable, and every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care.