Confronting Cavities

“But I’ve never had a cavity before!”

You might be astounded how many times patients make that comment when they come to see us at the Placerville Dental Group. We understand — you might have gone years or decades without a single issue with your teeth. In fact, you might even have an oral hygiene routine that you follow faithfully. And then, seemingly all of a sudden, a cavity shows up — perhaps even more than one. What happened? Is your dentist creating a problem out of thin air?

Cavities and Change

The list of things that can lead to increased cavity risk is lengthy. But in most cases, a large contributing factor is a change in your circumstances. Something has changed either suddenly or gradually, and a cavity is merely one result. What kinds of changes bring about cavities?

Dietary Changes — One of the most common factors is a change in diet. In today’s America, sugar is a common ingredient in our meals, whether we realize it or not. Pandemic restrictions, working at home, and COVID fears result in stress eating, grazing, or continuous snacking between meals. This sometimes unnoticed habit gives a constant food source to the bacteria in your mouth that attack your teeth and gums. If you need to snack, try using baby carrots or celery (preferably without the ranch dressing or peanut butter) instead of salty chips or sugary candies.

Lifestyle Changes — Most of us have dealt with a few lifestyle changes. Perhaps you got a new job, lost a current one, are moving to a new home, starting a new school, or experiencing some other circumstance. And who hasn’t been affected in some way by the coronavirus situation? Such changes can inadvertently disrupt your daily routine, including brushing and flossing. Unfortunately, disruption of your oral hygiene merely opens the way for plaque and bacteria to increase their efforts, resulting in cavities and gum disease. No matter what life might be bringing your way, positive or negative, keep up your daily routine of brushing and flossing to help avoid cavities.

Health Changes — Your immune system works well with brushing and flossing to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. However, the immune system is designed to protect your entire body, not just your teeth and gums. If your health deteriorates due to things like sickness, disease or infection, your immune system puts its efforts into battling those circumstances, reducing its assistance toward preventing cavities. Also, many medications have side effects that increase your susceptibility for cavities. A change in medications, or even the formulation of a certain medicine you have taken for a long time, can alter your oral biochemistry.

Preventative Maintenance for Teeth

Thankfully, you also have the Placerville Dental Group on your side. Every six months — or even more frequently — we take a close look at your teeth. If there are any indications of wear on your tooth enamel, we will discuss the issue with you and develop a course of action. In the meantime, pay attention to your eating habits, and reinforce your determination to never let a day go by without brushing your teeth twice, along with flossing, to help prevent cavity development.


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