Cavities occur when the structure of your tooth is damaged by acids created when bacteria break down sugar in your mouth. The bacteria acids soften your tooth enamel, and if left untreated, create holes in your teeth known as cavities.
What you may not know about cavities
Now that you know how cavities occur, here are a few other things you may not know about cavities:
1. They can be treated without the use of a drill
One of the biggest reasons people with cavities avoid going to the dentist is the misconception that their dentist will have to drill a hole in their tooth to fix the problem. Even though this is true in some cases, not all cavities require the use of a drill to fix.
If the cavity is only on the enamel, it can be easily filled without drilling. To prevent cavities in the future, fluoride is useful, which is why it is an active ingredient in most toothpaste and mouthwash. Using fluoride is a safe and natural way to strengthen your enamel, making it more difficult for bacteria to dissolve.
2. Sugar is not the only problem
Cavities are usually blamed on sugar, which is a primary cause, but even healthy foods can lead to cavities because they can be broken down to simple sugars, which the bacteria in your mouth can feed on.
Since it is impossible to completely eliminate all sugars from your diet, practicing good oral hygiene can help reduce your chances of getting cavities. Brushing your teeth after every meal is not practical for most people, so rinse your mouth with mouthwash after each meal to combat the effects of the acids. You can also rinse with tap water because tap water contains fluoride, which helps strengthen your enamel.
3. Gum works
Even though you are supposed to avoid sugary foods, you can combat cavities by chewing sugar-free gum. Sugar-free gum contains the sugar substitute xylitol, which is effective in preventing cavities because it combats cavity-causing bacteria while preventing the formation of plaque.
4. Caffeine can cause cavities
Even though sugar gets most of the blame, caffeine is also a primary cause of cavities. Caffeinated soft drinks, coffee, energy drinks and tea can create cavities because they change the pH in your mouth, leading to cavities. You should avoid caffeinated drinks or rinse your mouth after consuming them to protect your teeth from cavities.
5. Younger people are more at risk of developing cavities
You can have cavities at any age, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents between the ages of six and 19 are more likely to have cavities than other age groups, which makes sense, considering the amount of sugary foods and drinks that they tend to consume.
Cavities can lead to serious dental damage if left untreated, which is why you should watch what you put in your mouth and practice good oral hygiene. If you think you have cavities, schedule an appointment with your dentist and get treated to prevent further damage to your teeth.
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