Cavities are the most common dental problem. In fact, the vast majority of people will develop a cavity at some point in their lives. Still, you might wonder if some people are more prone to tooth decay than others. Is there anything you can do to reduce your risk of developing cavities? A dentist is here to discuss these important issues.
Tooth Decay Risk Factors
There are a number of factors that might make you more likely to develop cavities than others:
- Overall health. Health conditions or medications may lead to dry mouth, which increases your risk of tooth decay.
- Gum recession. Genetics or gum disease may cause your gum tissue to recede, exposing the roots of your teeth, which do not have enamel to protect them from cavity formation. Harmful bacteria can also get caught in the pockets that form when your gums withdraw, leading to tooth decay.
- Diet. Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you find it difficult to power through your afternoon slump without an energy drink your soda? Your daily consumption habits can increase plaque formation on your teeth and lead to cavities.
- Tooth shape, alignment, and composition. Teeth with deep grooves in them are more likely to trap foods and develop cavities. Similarly, misaligned teeth may collect food particles and bacteria between them. If your genes have cursed you with thin tooth enamel, you may also be more prone to develop cavities.
Reducing Your Risk
If you are more prone to cavities than others, you aren’t doomed to develop a mouth full of decay. In fact, there are things you can do that greatly reduce your risk of cavities. Here are a few suggestions that can help you protect your mouth:
- Manage your overall health. A low-sugar diet reduces your teeth’s exposure to harmful acids. A healthy lifestyle can also reduce your risk of developing conditions that can affect your mouth, such as diabetes.
- Make oral hygiene a priority. Thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day, and flossing once a day, removes plaque and minimizes its opportunities to wear away at your teeth. Excellent oral hygiene also reduces your risk of developing gum disease and the gum recession that accompanies it.
- Visit your dentist. Regular dental cleanings can contribute to cavity prevention, but that isn’t all your dentist can do to stop cavities. For example, if you have deep grooves in your teeth, sealants may be an appropriate treatment for you. Fluoride treatments can be used to fortify your enamel. If your teeth are misaligned, your dentist can refer you to an orthodontist who can straighten your smile and make it easier for you to maintain clean, cavity-free mouth.
Cavities don’t have to wreck your smile! Even if you are more prone to tooth decay than others, you can take preventive measures to protect your precious pearly whites and preserve them for decades to come.
About the Author
Dr. Erick Anderson is an experienced general dentist who provides a range of preventive services to help his patients avoid cavities and other oral health problems. He also offers restorative procedures to repair decayed teeth. To learn more about how he can enable you to have a lifetime of healthy smiles, contact our office at 719-593-0988.