As you probably already know, cavities are one of the most common dental problems experienced by children and adults alike. If left unchecked, cavities can lead to significant pain and tooth deterioration – both undesirable situations.
Despite the unwanted consequences of cavities, the good news is that you can easily prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing your teeth every day and by getting regular cleanings.
While prevention is key to healthy teeth, people must be aware that certain lifestyle factors and habits actually increase the risk of developing cavities.
These risk factors increase the risk of tooth decay:
- Sugary foods and drinks: All sugary foods increase the risk of tooth decay, especially sticky substances. The food doesn’t have to have “added sugar” to be a problem, even naturally-occurring sugars found in 100% fruit juices, prunes and raisins can promote plague. Honey, table sugar, sweet treats, taffy, sugar soda, milk, fruit juice, and other high-sugar foods and drinks promote the formation of plaque as well.
- Starchy foods: Sugar isn’t the only culprit; starchy foods, such as dry cereal and white bread also promote tooth decay.
- High-sugar drinks: Sugary sodas, coffees, energy drinks, teas, and fruit juices all contain high amounts of sugar, which leads to tooth decay.
- Receding gums: If you have receding gums, they can actually contribute to tooth decay because plague forms near teeth roots, which are vulnerable to decay because they are not protected by tooth enamel.
Cavities are the result of bacteria causing damage to the surface of the teeth. Over time, bacteria damages deeper layers, leading to discomfort, pain, and tooth loss. The first phase of this process is plaque formation; some plaque strains happen to thrive on sugary drinks and foods, so it’s important to remove these substances from the teeth after consuming them.
One of the best ways to fight plaque formation is to be diligent about practicing excellent oral care. You do this by brushing your teeth after each major meal with a soft tooth brush and by flossing daily. If you can’t brush after every meal, you can rinse your mouth out with water.
Even better – you can minimize sugary foods in your diet. Switch soda with water, and instead of drinking fruit juices, you can enjoy the whole fruit in its natural state, which has a lot less sugar and significantly more fiber.
Instead of snacking on chips, cookies, and bread products, you can snack on fresh vegetables and low-fat cheeses. Not only will your teeth thank you, but your body will too!
Looking for a Ventura family dentist? Contact Mark Weitzman D.D.S. to schedule your free, initial consultation!