Yes, it’s true. Cavities are not something that only happen to children. The main reason they’re less frequent in adults is that most adults have developed proper brushing, flossing, and treatment habits. If you’re worried about developing cavities now, here’s a quick reminder of the things you should know.
What Causes Cavities?
Cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth getting out of control and producing an acid that eats away at the enamel (surface) of your teeth. Teeth are strong, but too much damage over an extended period will eat right through even the sturdiest teeth. At that point, fillings – or worse, implants – are your only option.
Cavities can also be caused by other forms of damage to your teeth, including consuming acidic foods or suffering damage to your teeth while playing sports. Essentially, anything that hurts your teeth puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay.
How to Prevent Cavities
The best way to prevent adult cavities is to approach the issue from several directions. The most important thing to do is brush and floss your teeth twice a day, making sure to get all the way up and down. Bacteria often hide near the roots and between your teeth, so a simple surface scrub isn’t enough to prevent cavities.
Next, be aware of the impact your diet has. Foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, and acid can prompt tooth decay. This isn’t limited to candy and sodas, either – any food that’s high in these can be a threat to your teeth, even if they’re supposedly ‘healthier’ options like fruit juice.
Finally, visit the dentist on a regular basis for cleaning and preventative maintenance. Techniques like fluoride varnishes can help strengthen your teeth and make them more resistant to decay, while cleanings can help you get rid of any bacteria that you may have missed. Regular checkups can also help detect tooth decay before it gets too severe, reducing the time it takes to treat the problem.
Preventing adult cavities isn’t something you can do once every few months – instead, it should be part of your lifestyle. Anything less than daily prevention puts you at a much higher risk of tooth decay.
The Most Common Ways Adults Get Cavities
There are many ways adults can get cavities. The following are the most common:
Time is one of the most significant factors in developing cavities, simply because tooth decay has had so much more time to occur. Considerations here include improper oral hygiene, gums receding over time, and the overall impact of genetics on your mouth.
Some medications can cause dry mouth. Your saliva is like a mild mouthwash that helps clean and repair your teeth, so if it’s taken away, you could be at significantly elevated risk of tooth decay. Since stopping your use of the medication may not be a good option, you’ll have to pay extra attention and look for other ways of protecting your teeth.
Most people who grind their teeth aren’t aware that they do it. Grinding is common both while you’re asleep and while you’re under significant stress. The critical problem here is that it can strip away the outer enamel of teeth, just like the acid from bacteria. Once that tough outer layer is gone, adult cavities can form in no time. Fortunately, treating grinding is easy thanks to the availability of bite guards you can wear while sleeping.
Deep Teeth Crevices
Deep crevices in your teeth are often the result of genetic factors, though dental treatments may be able to reduce the problem. The issue here is that deep crevices make it much easier for plaque, bacteria, and other threats to grow. Preventing this is part of why you’re taught to floss as high as you can go, rather than limiting yourself to the shallow parts of your teeth.
A diet that’s high in acids, carbs, and sugars can lead right to tooth decay. In particular, bacteria don’t take hours to feed off of any sugar you put in your mouth – they can feed on it in seconds. If you bite into an apple, bacteria could be getting ready to expel acid by the time you pull the apple away from your mouth. This is why you should brush your teeth immediately after every meal.
Avoiding the Dentist
Some people just don’t like visiting the dentist. Maybe they have memories of pain, perhaps they don’t like the drills… but regular dental checkups and cleaning are a vital part of avoiding adult cavities. If you’re feeling worried, just let your dentist know and they’ll do anything they can to help you relax.
The Main Takeaway
Adult cavities can happen at any age, so never stop being vigilant with your oral hygiene. It is very important to come up with an effective dental routine and stick with it daily. For more information, contact Ideal Dental Solutions today!