Cavities. No one likes to talk about them — and most people count getting them filled among the most unpleasant experiences in life — but they happen to just about everyone, especially once you reach adulthood. The fact is, even the most diligent brusher may experience tooth decay. This is because brushing isn’t the whole story when it comes to avoiding cavities.
There are many factors that can contribute to tooth decay, and even the erosion of tooth enamel. Here are a handful of things that can make you more likely to get a cavity.
What You Eat
You probably already know that sugary drinks, such as fruit juices and sodas, are bad for your teeth. But did you know that other, healthier foods can also cause tooth decay? Certain foods are naturally high in sugar. Although natural sugars are better for you than processed sugar, they can still hurt your teeth if you consume them too often. For example, cherries have 18 grams of sugar per cup. Grapes also pack a high sugar punch, with 15 grams per cup. You can enjoy these fruits in moderation, but make sure to rinse your mouth with water (or brush) immediately after you eat them. You can also satisfy your sweet craving with fruits naturally low in sugar, such as cranberries (seven grams of sugar per cup) and avocados (just one gram of sugar in a whole avocado).
Bacteria in Your Mouth
Your mouth is a mini ecosystem, with up to 200 species of different bacteria living inside it at any given time. People who brush regularly and practice good oral hygiene typically have anywhere between 1,000 and 100,000 bacteria in their mouths. If this activates your “yuck” factor, consider that individuals who aren’t great brushers can have up 1 billion bacteria on every single tooth in their mouth! Certain people simply have more bacteria in their system, regardless of how often they brush. These bacteria can attack the teeth, causing cavities.
The Shape of Your Teeth
Some people have teeth that feature deep grooves — something that is especially common in the molars. There is not much you can do to change this, as the shape of your teeth is determined by genetics (so thank mom and dad if your teeth are particularly deep). However, you can take steps to reduce your chances of getting a cavity. Your dentist may even suggest a dental sealant on these teeth, which will place a protective coating over the grooves. This prevents food and bacteria from settling deep in the tooth, where it can more easily cause decay.
As we age, our gums tend to recede. This is the origin of the phrase, “long in the tooth” to describe someone who is older or aging. Other people brush too hard, which literally brushes away the gums. You can combat this by brushing as softly as possible, or purchasing a soft-bristle toothbrush. Some people even find that using a sonic toothbrush (which uses vibration rather than your own wrist motion to clean the teeth) helps them avoid pressing too hard.
Call to Schedule an Appointment Today
You only get one set of adult teeth, so it’s important to take care of them! You can start by aligning your teeth and correcting your bite with orthodontic treatment.
We serve adults and children in the greater San Diego region, including La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Del Mar. Call our office today to schedule a consultation and to learn more about a treatment plan that will have your smile sparkling in no time!