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Do Things Outside of Hygiene Factor Into Cavities?

Posted on 11/9/2020 by Dr. Todd Rogers
Do Things Outside of Hygiene Factor Into Cavities?The most common cause of cavities are sugary foods, acidic drinks, and acidic foods which either directly or indirectly damage teeth's enamel and dentin, leaving holes in the teeth. However, there are multiple ways for a patient to develop cavities. And not every cause can be treated with basic oral hygiene. Knowing what can cause cavities can help our patients come up with measures to take to promote good oral health between dental visits.

External Factors Which Increase the Risk of Cavities

Dry mouth is a condition where the mouth lacks saliva, which naturally combats harmful bacteria and balances the mouth's pH level. When there is less saliva in the mouth, harmful bacteria are more likely to thrive and cause damage to teeth. Loose fillings or worn dental devices give harmful bacteria a chance to invade the areas where the new wear is, increasing the chances of new cavities or the extension of existing cavities. Any gastrointestinal distress that causes stomach acid to flow into the mouth can erode teeth's enamel and dentin, leaving holes and similar damage.

Bruxism – the act of grinding one's teeth during sleep – can wear down the teeth and leave them exposed to cavities. Cough drops with added sugar can easily cause cavities if left to rest on a tooth for an extended period of time. Usage of street drugs – especially methamphetamines – can wreck a patient's mouth in a short amount of time, including promoting tooth decay. Finally, any form of smoking or usage of tobacco causes severe harm to a patient's oral health, including the weakening of teeth, leaving them vulnerable to harmful bacteria both in the mouth and from the smoking or tobacco product.

If you suspect that you have cavities, or if you want to have a dental exam to detect cavities, contact our office. We will examine your mouth and provide you with a treatment plan based on our findings.
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