Are you the type of person who brushes and flosses daily, but still gets cavities? You must be wondering what the problem may be.
First, you must understand that cavities are caused by specific oral bacteria. As the decay continues to progress, the bacteria will invade the living portion of the tooth (dentin and pulp), resulting in a bacterial infection.
In order to progress, the disease process needs particular combinations of conditions. So it may be likely that you have one or more of those conditions, despite the excellent dental hygiene.
The following are the common risk factors for tooth decay:
- Oral bacteria – The bacteria found in plaque feeds on sugars and carbohydrates from the foods and beverages we consume, which creates acids in the process. These acids dissolve the protective layer of our tooth enamel, making it susceptible to infection. Perhaps, your oral “microbiome” has a unique make-up that enables bacteria to develop more aggressively.
- Diet – Minimize your intake of sugars and carbohydrates to reduce the “food” for cavity-causing bacteria. Also, acidic foods and beverages are known to erode enamel, making it easier for infection to occur.
- Dry mouth – Saliva has minerals which help combat acids and rebuild tooth enamel. Without a normal flow of saliva, your mouth’s capability to prevent decay is at risk. You can counter dry mouth by drinking plenty of water and using enamel-strengthening mouthwashes.
- Gum recession – Receding gums expose the root of the tooth, and since it is not protected by enamel, it is vulnerable to decay.
- Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) – This condition can create highly acidic circumstances in your mouth.