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What Risk Factors Can Contribute to Increased Cavities


Posted on 6/10/2017 by Dr. Andrew Zeiger
A woman smoking a cigarette.
You've been told time and time again that brushing and flossing are the keys to preventing cavities. Sometimes, however, despite your best efforts, you might still wind up with them anyway.

This is because, even though you brush and floss on a regular basis, there are a few factors that can increase your risk for developing them.

Your Diet
The things you eat play a crucial role in the development of cavities, namely sugar and acid. Sugar doesn't inherently give you cavities, but it does provide food for the bacteria in your mouth. In turn, the bacteria produce acids which eat away at your enamel.

Speaking of acid, acidic foods (coffee, citrus) weaken your enamel, making it more susceptible to bacterial attack. You don't have to completely cut out sugar and acidic foods from your diet, but reducing the amount you eat can help. It is also advised to follow these foods or beverages with a glass of water.

Dry Mouth

Your mouth relies on saliva not only for digestion, but to help fight bacteria. If you suffer from dry mouth, your body is not producing sufficient saliva, making your mouth the perfect environment for bacterial growth.

There are several causes of dry mouth, including:

•  Medications.
•  Smoking.
•  Drinking.
•  Conditions that make you breathe through your mouth.

Diabetes

Diabetes doesn't just affect your blood sugar, it can also affect your oral health. If your blood sugar is too high, you will also have more sugar in your mouth overall, and you are unwittingly providing food for oral bacteria. Getting your blood sugar under control can help to reduce the sugar in your mouth and help to reduce your risk for cavities.

Lack of Fluoride

Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps to strengthen your enamel and prevent it against acid attacks. Fluoride occurs naturally in many foods (in small amounts) and is often added to the water supply.

It can also be found in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Your dentist can also apply treatments. A lack of sufficient fluoride can mean that your enamel is weaker, and therefore more susceptible to harm. But, at the same time, you need to be careful not to get too much.

Age
Your age can play a role in your susceptibility to cavities. Older adults are often at an increased risk due to naturally receding gums (more surface area, including roots, exposed). Children are also at an increased risk. This is due to their oral hygiene habits and the fact that the minerals in their teeth are not yet stable.

Even with the best oral hygiene habits, you are not immune to cavities. Regular visits to your dentist will help to spot and stop cavities before they become serious. Also, be sure to discuss risk factors with your dentist so you can learn the best ways to prevent cavities from forming.

Please contact our office if you have any questions about your oral health.
OUR PHILOSOPHY

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Dr. David Frausto & Associates
Bradshaw Family Dental
& Smile Design Center

Prescott Valley
7136 East Pav Way
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314
(928) 277-0076

Chino Valley
1260 Hwy. 89, Ste. G
Chino Valley, AZ 86323
(928) 237-1305



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