Cavities, What Are They?
A cavity is an area of cavitation in the tooth enamel (outer tooth structure) and dentin (inner tooth structure) caused by oral bacteria and acids. When sugars are consumed, they get converted into acids in the mouth, which then attack the enamel of the teeth. The acids slowly demineralize the outer structure of the teeth and leads to cavities over time. Cavities most commonly affect the deep grooves and fissures on the biting surfaces of the molars and the in-between surfaces of the teeth, which are both problematic areas to adequately clean. It is vital to catch cavities in their earliest stages, so minimally invasive treatment can be provided. Dental x-rays are an essential tool for diagnostic purposes and are used to catch cavities early before they are visible and start causing pain.
What Type of Foods Cause Cavities?
Any food or drink containing sugars, even natural sugars, can lead to the formation of a cavity. That means that even fruit (particularly dried fruit,) milk and simple carbohydrates such as white bread can cause cavities. Sugary foods that are retentive in the teeth cause a longer exposure time to sugar. Therefore, it is important to limit these kinds of foods. It is beneficial to rinse your mouth or brush your teeth after the consumption of sugar.
How to Prevent Cavities
You can help reduce your risk of cavities by following these easy tips:
- Reduce your consumption of sugary and acidic foods, particularly retentive foods that get stuck in your teeth
- Rinse your mouth with water or try to brush your teeth after the consumption of sugary foods
- Reduce your simple carbohydrate intake (I.e. white bread)
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss your teeth at least once a day
- Use fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and a fluoride mouth rinse once a day
- If you suffer from a dry mouth, use dry mouth products or salivary substitutes.
- Visit your dentist and dental hygienist regularly for your check-ups and cleanings.