Cavities are among the most common and feared dental malady. Though nowhere at the level of a dreaded root canal, cavities are inconveniences that can induce some degree of apprehension. Long attributed to sugary foods and candy, cavities are caused by a chemical reaction of sugar, bacteria, and the enamel of your teeth. The bacteria mutans streptococcus thrives on sugars and starches in the mouth. Consuming sugary foods creates an acidic interaction–eventually eroding the enamel of the teeth through calcium depletion. The overall decay process is accelerated by plaque accumulation as well. This process is a result of consuming sugary foods, but there are numerous other factors involved. Here are some common cavity catalysts and prevention suggestions.
Unexpected Cavity Risks
The usual culprit foods and drinks like pastries, cookies, candies, and soda are all well known to contribute to the development of cavities, but there are some surprising, unexpected cavity causing foods. Cereals and fruits can contain a large quantity of sugar and can contribute to the perilous acid buildup that erodes enamel. Acidic foods and drinks are also big contributors to cavities as they can accelerate tooth decay. Citrus fruits are especially high in acid. Even foods like bread and fish can be high in acids that can cause cavities. Though there are a lot of foods and beverages that can have a negative impact on your dental health, complex carbohydrates and sugary, acidic beverages are the most risky. Since it is unrealistic to completely eliminate some of these items from your diet, good oral hygiene is imperative for cavity prevention.
Cavity Prevention & Dental Health
Proper dental hygiene can significantly reduce the risks of cavities. A regular twice daily routine of brushing and flossing is essential to removing harmful acids and plaque from the teeth and gums. While completely cutting out certain foods isn’t always necessary, moderation is the best option for avoiding cavities. Eating fewer sweets and cutting back on carbonated beverages can significantly reduce cavity risks. Avoid eating sugary and acidic foods before bed since the mouth produces less saliva as you sleep, so acids can linger on the teeth and mouth longer–even after brushing. Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush since acids remain in the mouth and can be spread around by brushing too soon after eating. Limiting intake of high sugar, high acid foods and drinks, brushing and flossing twice daily, and using mouthwash can help prevent cavities and more serious dental problems over time.