Top Causes of Cavities

Cavities result from tooth decay, which is when tooth enamel is worn away and the more vulnerable layers of the tooth are exposed. Tooth decay may start as an unusually white or dark spot on the tooth but, over time, can progress to the root of the tooth and cause the tooth to become infected. But why do cavities happen in the first place? The following are the top causes of cavities that can impact the health of your smile.

Poor Oral Health

Not keeping up with your oral care routine can increase your risk for cavities. Although cavities are preventable, they remain one of the biggest threats to oral health [1]. Not properly brushing or flossing your teeth can cause plaque and bacteria to accumulate. When not removed, it can begin to cause the tooth enamel to erode and the gum tissue to pull away from the teeth. Without this protective layer, the teeth become susceptible to decay.

Eating Lots of Sweets

Consuming lots of refined sugar—whether through food or drinks—is the most important risk factor for cavities [2]. Added sugar causes oral bacteria to produce acid, which can break down tooth enamel. The more sugar you consume or the longer the sugar sits on your teeth, the more damage it can cause to your enamel. Some of the top sugary culprits that can damage teeth include soda, mixed drinks, baked goods, and candy.

Chronic Dry Mouth

Saliva plays an important role in your oral health. It helps break down food, keep your mouth clean, and even remineralize tooth enamel, as it contains minerals such as calcium and phosphorus that can help strengthen teeth [3]. When you have chronic dry mouth, lack of saliva can make your teeth more susceptible to cavities, which makes it imperative to manage or treat dry mouth—chewing sugarless gum and staying hydrated are a couple of ways you can do this.

Acid Reflux

Patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), also called acid reflux, are at higher risk for cavities than those without the condition [4]. This is because acid reflux can cause traces of harsh stomach acid to end up in the oral cavity, which can cause enamel erosion that leads to tooth decay. Treating acid reflux may help protect your oral health and alleviate your symptoms, so don’t overlook this potential cause of cavities.

Watch Out for Cavities

Tooth decay often doesn’t show symptoms until it has progressed, which is why keeping your regular dental appointments and taking care of your oral health are essential to preventing cavities. To keep your smile even healthier, minimize added sugars and address any additional conditions such as acid reflux or dry mouth with your physician—your teeth will thank you!

Sources:
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2821841/
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717883/
3. https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/dry-mouth
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986576/

Summary
Top Causes of Cavities
Article Name
Top Causes of Cavities
Description
Cavities result from tooth decay, which is when tooth enamel is worn away and the more vulnerable layers of the tooth are exposed. But why do cavities happen in the first place? The following are the top causes of cavities that can impact the health of your smile.
Author
Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry