We all know that poor brushing and flossing leads to tooth decay. But what if you are diligent in your oral hygiene routine and always show up for your routine dental checkups and still get frequent cavities? Before you just dismiss your cavity trend to “inherited soft teeth” that you can’t do anything about, it is wise to start investigating other habits or conditions that may be causing your dental problems.
It helps to first understand what causes a cavity to form. The term “soft teeth” is referring to teeth that are stripped of their strong outer layer, or enamel. Remember, your teeth are inherently the strongest and hardest party of your whole body! However, if your enamel is weakened, your tooth’s defense shield is weakened as well. Enamel is hard and strong because of its minerals. When minerals are taken away, the enamel is no longer defending the health of your teeth the way it should. What steals minerals from your tooth enamel? Acid! The frequent presence of acid in your mouth and surrounding your teeth is at the heart of these cavity causing habits and conditions.
- #1 Sodas
- This may be an obvious one, but all dentists agree that the acidity of carbonated drinks wreaks havoc on your teeth. The yellow sodas do the most damage, with Mountain Dew leading the pack. Dr. Pepper is the highest in acidity for the dark colas.
- #2 Sports Drinks
- Yes, even Gatorade has the power punch of acid and high sugar content to cause cavities in your young athletes if you are not careful.
- #3 Acid Reflux
- Did you know that up to 75% of people with heartburn have zero symptoms? This can be a silent and surprising cause of your frequent cavities. Stomach acid is just as harmful as the sodas you drink when it comes to tearing down your tooth enamel over time.
Other surprising factors that contribute to tooth decay are dry mouth, radiation therapy for cancer and certain autoimmune diseases. It is very important that you take a well-rounded approach to finding the source of your cavities, if in fact you are an avid brusher and attend your dental appointments as scheduled. Park South Dentistry is committed to helping patients solve their tooth decay problems at the root cause, even if it means working with your primary care doctor to get a specific medical condition under control or helping you control a daily soda habit. Cavities are almost always something you can control and prevent!