Have you ever had a friend or relative who has never had a cavity when you’ve had several? That seems unfair. Annoying. Frustrating. But there may actually be several reasons why some people seem to get cavities easier than others. If you’re wondering why you’ve needed to get a cavity or two treated by your dentist in Portland even though you take great care of teeth, we’re here to help explain.
Brushing & Flossing
While this seems like the most obvious answer, the truth is brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can really work to avoid cavities. Those who follow a proper oral health care routine at home can effectively remove plaque and bacteria from teeth and reduce the risk of decay. However, it’s not enough to only brush and floss, you need a good brushing and flossing technique to really be effective. Make sure you’re using a soft toothbrush and brush gently along the gumline and all tooth surfaces. Otherwise, you could miss cleaning important areas or actually cause damage if you brush too hard. Floss in between each and every tooth, curving the floss up under the gum line for a thorough clean. Not brushing and flossing your teeth, or not doing it effectively, can increase the risk of decay.
Genetics can play a role in so many ways, including how strong our teeth are and even the shape of our teeth. When individuals inherit weaker enamel, it can make their teeth more susceptible to decay. Additionally, teeth that are formed with deep grooves are more likely to develop cavities because those crevices provide a nice place for bacteria to hide and cause problems. However, genetics alone do not dictate someone’s cavity risk. For example, someone with genetically strong enamel can absolutely still develop cavities if they don’t brush and floss regularly or have other cavity-causing conditions.
Another factor that can determine someone’s risk of developing cavities is their diet. In fact, what we eat and drink can significantly impact our dental health. Consuming too much sugar or acid can create an ideal environment for cavities to form, which is one reason why your dentist in Portland usually advises against eating an excess of sugar. You see, bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acids as a byproduct. These acids can erode tooth enamel, increasing the risk of cavities. Additionally, many people do not drink enough water throughout the day, and that’s a concern. Water not only helps the body function properly, but it can also help wash away bacteria and neutralize acids that could otherwise wear away enamel, resulting in decay.
Professional Dental Care
Besides brushing your teeth daily and eating a well-balanced diet limited in sugar and acid, it’s important to see your dentist in Portland at least every six months for a check-up and cleaning. Professional dental care is an essential part of maintaining oral health as your dental team will be able to detect early signs of cavities and provide preventive treatments like sealants or fluoride. Those who see their dentist regularly have a lower risk of getting a cavity or experiencing other serious oral health problems whereas individuals who neglect regular dental visits or do not prioritize preventive care may be at a higher risk of cavities.
If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental visit, we welcome you to call our office to schedule an appointment today.