Why is it that you get so many cavities, after religiously brushing and flossing even though you work hard at keeping your teeth clean?
While there are people who don’t do so well but never seem to get decay.
Nobody likes having to go through the same process every time they go to the dentist.
The recurrence of dental decay is a common frustration for many of our patients despite their efforts to keep their teeth clean with brushing and flossing.
If brushing and flossing actually prevents cavities, why are we getting them?
It is because every mouth is different and the simplest answer is bacteria and sugar.
The more sugar that a person has in their diet, the more food there is for the bacteria. The more the bacteria eat, the more acids are produced.
Bacteria feed off the sugars in the foods you eat and drink. The bacteria then excrete acid that destroys the calcium and phosphate bonds in your teeth. It’s the loss of these bonds that results in the formation of a cavity.
Cleaning your teeth every day is not the only thing that matters. We have to attack the real culprit behind your cavities i.e. bacteria.
There are certain types of sugars that you should try to avoid. Namely, the artificial sweeteners contained in many foods and especially in drinks like sodas and juices.
These artificial sweeteners are like food packed with steroids for the bacteria on your teeth. As they consume it, these bacteria chow down on sucrose, produce more and more acid that wreaks havoc on your enamel and cause decay in the process.
So as long as you’re consuming sugar, you are leaving yourself susceptible to them.
But the biggest problem comes not from the amount of sugar in the foods and drinks you consume; it comes from how often you consume them.
Snacking a lot or sipping on sugary beverages and foods provides a constant source of food for the decay causing bacteria.
When we say “sugary”, we mean any foods or drinks that contain fermentable carbohydrates (foods that are quickly broken down in the mouth into simple sugars).
So what you think may not be a sugary food, like bread or pasta, will have the same resulting tooth decay as eating candy all day.
If you tend to snack between meals, or eat many small meals per day, or sip on that coffee with cream at your desk throughout the day, you are continually bathing your teeth in these sugars, and your teeth will suffer.
You can significantly reduce the damage bacteria can do by simply reducing the frequency of sugary foods.
Your body naturally tries to combat this constant acid attack that your teeth are exposed to by producing saliva to cleanse the teeth and buffer the acid.
If for any reason a person’s saliva production is reduced, the teeth become much more likely to form cavities.
Things that can affect the amount of saliva include certain medications, chronic dehydration, damaged salivary glands, and breathing through the mouth.
If you feel like you frequently have dry mouth, mention it to your dentist. Oral hygiene instructions are becoming a norm in dental clinics in India.
Sometimes it is hard to determine why a person keeps getting cavities. Every person has different habits, diets and health conditions which all affect the mouth and teeth.
There is a genetic component that is responsible for your cavities that’s related to the pH of your saliva and consistency of your saliva.
Also some of us tend to have crevices in the surface of our teeth that are naturally deep which makes it all easier for bacteria to drill down and cause a cavity.
Dental clinics in Delhi recommends looking into dental sealants, a simple procedure where a dentist will seal off those deep crevices in your teeth to prevent bacteria and sugar from getting in there.
Change in your daily routine- If you weren’t getting cavities before and now you are getting, it’s likely that there is some change in your daily routine that’s causing the sudden onset. Consider lifestyle factors like diet, stress, or any new habits.
Stress- Stress isn’t just in your mind but it has an effect on the entire body. Stress increases the inflammation and immune response throughout the body. Stress can also give you dry mouth which may cause cavities.
More frequent sugar- The amount of sugar you eat doesn’t matter as much as how long the exposure is. Eating sweets all at once would be better than sucking on a candy for an hour. Snacking frequently or sipping aerated drinks can all be culprits of an increase in cavities.
Gum Recession- When the gums recede, the root part of the tooth is exposed, and it doesn’t have protective enamel covering like the rest of the tooth. This exposed area is much softer and more susceptible to decay and cavities.
Chemotherapy- Chemotherapy treatment can result in dry mouth, which makes you more prone to cavities.
Braces- If you’ve recently gotten braces, it’s much harder to floss and brush which can lead to cavities.
Genetics- Some people are more susceptible to the strain of bacteria as a hereditary factor such as gum disease. Unfortunately, this factor is out of your control!
Salivary factors- The pH of saliva, consistency of saliva and the amount of saliva created in the mouth can vary from person to person. Purpose of the saliva is to help wash away food particles left in the mouth. Not having enough of it can lead to plaque buildup and tooth decay.
Enamel Strength- Enamel thickness plays a major part in tooth decay, is a product of many years of genetic mutation. It’s what wears down as a result of tooth decay.
Tooth position/alignment- It’s easy to see the effect that tooth misalignment has on dental. If you have crowded teeth, it’s much harder to access some of the areas where plaque and bacteria are hiding. Misaligned teeth make it more difficult to clean which can lead to decay.
Acid reflux- Frequent acid reflux or heartburn can cause stomach acid to flow into the mouth. This can cause wearing away at the enamel on your teeth and causing significant tooth decay.
Dry Mouth- If you have a lack of natural saliva in your mouth, you could be experiencing dry mouth. Saliva not only washes away plaque and bacteria, it neutralizes the acids that can attack your teeth. Certain medications can have dry mouth as a side effect; inform your doctor if you notice a decrease in your mouth’s saliva production.
Lack of fluoride- Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to prevent cavities by restoring the tooth enamel. Fluoride can even help to prevent cavities from forming and reverse tooth damage at the early stages of tooth decay.
Eating disorders- Anorexia and bulimia can lead to significant tooth erosion and cavities due to stomach acid.
Dentists in India are focusing on preventive dentistry.
Here is how you can counteract some of the factors that may be acting as strikes against your oral health.
See your dentist regularly – With regular checkups, your dentist can determine which factors are problems for you and can help you address those issues specifically.
Keep brushing and rinsing – Brushing twice a day and rinsing will go a long way towards prevention. Dentists in Delhi are educating the patients to rinse their mouth every time they eat or snack. If you are already great at taking care of your teeth, you should continue them.
Reduce sugars – Sugars are everywhere, and can include things like coffee with sugar, soda, dried fruit or juice. Try to minimize these kinds of foods, and be sure to consume anything sugary in one sitting instead of grazing or sipping throughout the day.
Proper brushing takes at a minimum of two minutes. If you don’t take the time to properly brush all tooth surfaces, you’re not getting your teeth really clean. In reputed dental clinics in Delhi, dentists make it a point to teach the proper brushing technique to the patient as they are unawares.
Usually, it comes down to diet. Pay attention to what you are eating and drinking.
Instead of snacking throughout the day, try eating more filling meals and brushing your teeth after you eat.
If you do snack throughout the day, or eat a food that lingers on your teeth, be sure to rinse your mouth well with water after you have eaten to help decrease the harmful bacteria and increase your saliva production.
Fortunately, xylitol is an all-natural sugar substitute that destroys bacteria by tricking it into thinking it is sugar, essentially starving the bacteria so it dies and never comes back.
This even helps destroy them and won’t feed the cavity causing bacteria in your mouth.
Your daily cleaning routine really makes a difference in your long-term oral health.
If you are feeling cavity prone no matter what hygiene habits you have, visit your dentist for a check-up so that your dentist can get your teeth back on track together.
Posted by- Dr Shriya