Many people think cavities aren’t a big deal, or that only children get them. The truth is anyone can get a cavity and they are a big deal. Why? Because a cavity is tooth decay, plain and simple. Tooth decay does more than give you a bad toothache, too, it can affect your overall health by allowing harmful bacteria into your blood stream.
Cavities are holes that form when plaque is allowed to adhere to your tooth surface. Plaque is a sticky haven of bacteria and acid and if it’s not removed, the acid erodes the outer enamel of your tooth and just keeps going. The foods you eat, your genes, and your dental hygiene routine all play a role in the creation of plaque. You can’t do much about your genes, but you can control what you eat, and you can maintain good oral hygiene.
The bacteria in your mouth love, love, love, sugar! The more you eat, the more they eat and the more acid they produce. Just imagine millions of teeny bacteria teeming over that speck if sticky caramel stuck between your back teeth. There’s a pretty picture! Starches are another favorite of bacteria. Starchy foods like potato chips, bread, and French fries stick to your teeth and allow bacteria to feast.
It’s not all bad news, though. You don’t have to stop eating sweets and starchy foods, but be sure to drink lots of water when you do. This will help wash away the food that gets stuck to your teeth. You still need to brush and floss, though!
Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is the most important thing you can do to prevent cavities. That means brushing your teeth at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes each time, and flossing at least once a day.
A proper diet, brushing and flossing is what you can do on your own, but it’s important to see your dentist twice a year, too. Cavities start small and usually under the cover of plaque. Your dentist scrapes away the plaque and can detect the beginning stages of any cavities, even help keep them from growing.
Remember, cavities are 100% preventable, but it’s up to you.