How can you protect yourself against the formation of cavities in your healthy smile? Awareness of the various risk factors may help you in your quest too keep your teeth and gums at their healthiest. Being aware of potential problem areas will allow you to give these your oral health the attention it requires before problems develop.
The quality of your nourishment – whether you eat healthy foods, or sugary, starchy foods which can cling to your teeth, promoting tooth decay, do make a difference. Plaque–that sticky bacterial film which coats your teeth allowing acid formation–is actually more prevalent with certain kinds of foods (and drinks). Saliva helps wash away plaque and oral debris, and the foods that can be more easily cleared by saliva include celery, apples, and carrots. On the other hand, milk, honey, soda, cookies, dried fruit, and chips are examples of the type of things that can make you prone to cavities.
Snack producing acid baths – if you like to snack, be aware that sipping and snacking on food and drinks throughout the day feeds the bacteria in your mouth that produce acids. These acids erode precious tooth enamel. If you are a soda or fruit juice consumer, limit your intake and drink them through a straw to minimize contact with your teeth, and finally, rinse with water often to encourage healthy levels of saliva.
Location, location, location – the location of your teeth plays a factor in their susceptibility to dental decay. The molars (and premolars, in children) located in the back of the mouth are the most at-risk for cavities. These hard to reach and clean teeth–along with the fact that they have pits and fissures where oral debris can accumulate–makes them vulnerable targets for cavities, so be sure to brush and floss them diligently.
Other factors that often contribute to cavities include not brushing often enough or soon enough after eating; dry mouth, a condition where you produce less than optimal saliva (which helps clean the teeth); along with worn-out dental fillings or dental appliances such as dentures, can all contribute to cavity formation by allowing plaque to grow.
To reduce your risks for developing cavities, remember to brush and floss daily, see your dentist for periodic cleanings and exams, stay well hydrated, eat healthy, and limit snacking as much as possible.
To schedule your next dental cleaning with one of our caring dentists, please call our Smiles Dental team in Camas, Washington at 360.335.3998 today. Our dentists, Dr. Landon King and Dr. Burke Jardine are happy to help keep you smiling!