Everyone knows that cavities are caused by too much sugar and poor oral care like neglecting daily brushing and flossing, but are those the only causes? There are actually many other behaviors that can put you at a greater risk of developing cavities. Just like brushing and flossing, the majority of additional risk factors for cavities are within your control.
Good oral care is the most important factor when it comes to preventing cavities, but there are many others.
- Genetics. Your genes may have passed along soft or brittle teeth, or a higher amount of bacteria in the mouth, which all increase the likelihood that cavities will develop. While genetics is one of the only risk factors you can’t control, you can tell your dentist.
- Aging. Just like the rest of our bodies, our teeth weaken as we age. While you can’t stop the aging process, you and your dentist can take extra good care of your teeth as you get older.
- Nicotine Use. Whether smoking or using oral tobacco, the use of nicotine dries out the mouth, makes teeth yellowed and discolored, and increases the likelihood of cavities.
- Drug and Alcohol Use. Alcohol dries out the mouth and wears down teeth enamel. Some hard drugs, like meth, can rot teeth. Both alcohol and hard drugs also go hand-in-hand with poor overall health and a lack of basic hygiene.
- Eating Disorders. Those who suffer from bulimia can damage their teeth with the stomach acid that accompanies purging. Additionally, nearly all eating disorders deprive the body of necessary vitamins and minerals, including those needed for healthy teeth.
- Fillings. Large fillings can trap cavity-causing bacteria. Your dentist may need to utilize a dental crown instead.
This column is sponsored by Midtown Dental.
BIO: Dr. William Nerestant received his Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree from the University of Detroit/Mercy School of Dentistry in Michigan. After serving and being recognized for his meritorious service in the Air Force as an officer in the Dental Corps, he currently serves patients at Midtown Dental in Lakeland. For more information, visit mymidtowndental.com or call (863) 226-0987.