Cavities aren't just minor inconveniences in life, they can be major catastrophes, especially if they're happening often. Since your teeth are such an important part of your overall health and serve such a significant function, you need to find out why you're so prone to cavities - and then do something about it.
1. Insufficient Or Inefficient Oral Hygiene
Not brushing adequately will obviously lead to cavities, and only 7% of Americans brush every time they eat. Additionally, you simply may not be reaching every crack and crevice in all of your teeth. Invest in a rubber dental pick and conduct a plaque investigation next time you brush, gently poking and prodding around, especially in the back of your mouth where it can be difficult to reach with an ordinary brush. You'll probably be unpleasantly surprised to find icky goop on the pick, indicating that your brushing is not as effective as it should be. Don't fret, though, because it's not just you and there are extra measures you can take to ensure your oral hygiene practices are up to par:
- Try using an electric toothbrush and change the head frequently.
- Double the amount of time you spend brushing, every time.
- When reaching for back teeth, don't fight in the mirror to find the perfect angle; rather, close your eyes and visualize the teeth, being sensitive to feeling where the brush actually makes the mark.
- Follow up your brushing with a good fluoride rinse, to wash away leftover bacteria and saturate your teeth with cavity protection.
2. Weak Dental Enamel
Not only will eroding enamel lead to decay, it may also be the cause of any tooth sensitivity you're experiencing. Unfortunately, enamel doesn't regenerate once it's gone, making protection of it your number one priority, along with making an effort to re-mineralize the surface of your teeth. Using products with fluoride will help, but eroding enamel can have different causes and should be looked at by a dentist, who can then recommend the best course of action.
3. Consuming Acidic Foods And Beverages
One of the leading (and avoidable) causes of enamel erosion is acid in foods and drinks. Enamel is akin to nail polish, with acidic consumables acting as the nail polish remover. Although real enamel doesn't dissolve away as swiftly as nail polish, it's the same principle in effect and should definitely be food for thought when you make decisions about your diet. Avoiding acidic foods and beverages can preserve your valuable enamel, keeping your teeth protecting your teeth against decay. Oranges, tomatoes, coffee and soda are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to avoiding acidic erosion, so ask your dentist specifically what you should stop putting in your shopping cart. Take notes and make no exceptions when it comes to exposing your enamel to erosive acids in your diet.
4. Deep Ridges On Top Of Some Teeth
If the biting surface of your teeth has numerous peaks and valleys, that leaves plenty of space for food particles and bacteria to settle in, making brushing after meals even more essential. Regular dental visits should reveal these problematic areas, allowing your dentist to seal them, rather than simply waiting for cavities to begin forming. A sealant forms an air-tight barrier on the tooth's surface, keeping plaque and other nefarious substances at bay and having sealant applied is much more comfortable than getting cavities filled or worse, having a tooth pulled.
5. Sugar Sitting In Your Mouth
"Don't eat too many sweets." isn't just something told to children to encourage healthier habits, there's a real and dangerous science behind sugar and tooth decay. It actually feeds the bacteria in your mouth, allowing it to flourish and attack teeth. Since there are actually billions of bacteria in your mouth, popping too much sugar in there, without immediately brushing afterwards is simply asking for cavities. Carry a travel-size toothbrush and paste with you, so you can clean up after consuming sweets, no matter where you are, but most especially since you're prone to cavities.
6. Medications You Are Taking
Even over-the-counter remedies, such as antacids, may lead to being diagnosed with more cavities, despite your efforts at brushing. Pain meds, antihistamines and other prescriptions, too, could contribute, so be sure and ask your physician about the possibilities before you start a medicine and let your dentist know what you have to take as well. While there are no "healthy teeth" alternative medications, you could beef up your oral care regimen when taking anything that may negatively affect your teeth:
- Drink more water.
- Chew (sugarless!) gum, to promote saliva production.
- Use a hydrating mouth treatment that's dentist-approved.
7. Lack Of Dental Insurance
Sadly, a lack of insurance keeps far too many people away from the dentist's office, leaving them vulnerable to cavities and other hazards. If you don't have adequate dental insurance, but there's a problem with one or more of your teeth, don't surrender to the situation, as there is hope. Talk to a dentist about possible payment plans if you can't afford the up-front cost of a visit and the subsequent treatment, or contact the American Dental Association for advice on where to seek care with little or no insurance. You could also investigate local organizations that provide free or low cost dental clinics in your area. Additionally, you might be eligible for discounted student dental care somewhere in your area, which is supervised by real and qualified dentists. Whatever you do, don't remain passive about your oral health, it's simply too important not to advocate for the care you need and deserve.