What Causes Cavities?

What Causes Cavities

We hear about cavities all the time, but you still might have some questions about them. Some might include: “What are they?”, “What are they caused by?”, and most importantly, “How can I prevent them?”. Read on to find answers to all of your questions!

Cavities happen because of a tooth decaying. The term “tooth decay” simply means that the tooth is being damaged. When there are tiny particles of carbohydrates in between or on your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth turn them into acids. Cavities are literal holes in the tooth that have been created by acid in your mouth eating away the tooth.

Here are the top 3 causes of getting cavities.

  1. Not Seeing The Dentist- 19% of those with dental insurance and 66% of those without dental insurance report that they do not visit the dentist at least once a year for a cleaning and checkup. That is a lot of people who are not taking the importance of their oral health seriously. If you wait until something hurts, it is often a lot more damaging than it would have been had you caught it early. Cleanings are important because hygienists are specially trained to fully clean all the bacteria and plaque off of all the places that are hard for you to reach. The longer the plaque, acid, and bacteria stay on your teeth, the more destruction occurs. If you wait, the decay could continue into the center of the tooth, down to the roots, and into the bone. Going to the dentist stops the downward spiral before it goes from bad to worse.
  2. Not Brushing Enough- For optimal oral health, it’s recommended to brush your teeth after every meal. But the minimum recommendation is at least twice a day. Although most know they’re supposed to, only 48% of Americans brush twice daily. By not brushing your teeth, you’re keeping the food particles on your teeth, and allowing more time for it to turn into acid and rot away at your pearly whites. This process can still occur if you brush your teeth if you’re not thorough enough. Make sure you’re brushing for at least 2 minutes each time and reaching every area of your mouth.
  3. Not Flossing Enough- Only 50% of Americans floss daily. This is unfortunately why so many end up at the dentist eventually anyway for much more serious procedures than a simple cleaning. When you brush your teeth, you’re only able to clean the surfaces on the front, back, and bottom of the teeth. The surfaces in between can and will develop cavities as well as any other part of the tooth if they are not cleaned properly by flossing. If you never floss, start with a small goal like one day a week, then progressively increase. Your gums may bleed at first, but after weeks of your gums getting used to flossing and becoming cleaner, they won’t anymore.

Cavities are caused by things that are all preventable! Doing  your part to prevent cavities for yourself is quick and easy, and will save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

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