When people think about mouth problems they want to avoid, the two most common are bad breath and cavities. We don’t like bad breath because it offends others. We don’t like cavities because they’re a pain – literally. Not only that, but cavities could also result in tooth loss if left untreated! Clearly, avoiding cavities is important. So, ho do we do that? And what if you already have cavities?
Risk Factors for Cavities
Every mouth is different, and so is the risk for cavities. Several factors come into play when considering the level of a person’s risk. For instance, 90% of people in the United States are affected to some degree by tooth decay and gum disease. That means 10% are not affected. Granted, that includes individuals who have no teeth at all (about 5% of U.S. adults aged between 20 to 64). Changes in life can also affect a person’s risk, such as increased stress levels, low salivary flow, getting braces, or even sudden (or gradual) changes in eating habits. Any of these things can significantly affect how easy it is for a person to get cavities.
Interestingly, there are some cases where a person is naturally more resistant to getting cavities. Some individuals have a different makeup in their oral biome (the bacteria in their mouth) that helps to avoid cavity formation. Others were given enough fluoride in their youth so that their permanent teeth strongly resist decay. The rest of us need to take precautionary measures!
Lowering the Risk of Cavities
Two ways to lower your risk for cavities is with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Adding quality foods to your diet gives your body the resources it needs to strengthen the immune system and heal the gums and enamel. Avoiding candy, sodas, and junk food also avoids feeding the bacteria in your mouth that cause plaque, tartar and tooth decay. Eating crunchy foods like celery or nuts exercises our teeth and gums, strengthening their connection and improving blood flow. Speaking of which, a moderate exercise routine also helps to get the blood pumping, carrying the nutrients from your healthy diet to the places in your body where they are needed.
Of course, the primary way we can lower the risk of cavities is a regular routine in oral hygiene. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. Use floss daily. Swish around with mouthwash. Turn on that water flosser and use it! And always visit the Placerville Dental Group at least twice a year for inspection and cleaning of your teeth. If there are any indications of cavities or other issues, we’ll find them, analyze them, and discuss with you the best way to resolve the issue. Together, we’ll keep your risk of cavities to a bare minimum!