Most Common Causes of Cavities

Germantown Dental Group is the greater Memphis area’s full-service solution for all of your oral healthcare needs. 

A big part of our commitment to serving the people of Memphis, Germantown, and beyond is focused on keeping our amazing patients (and prospective patients) informed on issues of and relating to their dental health. And what could be more basic to dental health than our old friend, the cavity? So today, let’s take a closer look! 

But that leads us to some common questions. Chiefly, what are cavities? And how do they form? And, maybe most importantly, what can I do to avoid them? 

We’ve asked Dr. John Whittemore and Dr. Todd Gruen, our resident experts, to answer these questions and more below, so read on to learn all about four of the most common causes of cavities. 

Cavities – What Are They? 

First thing first – cavities, otherwise known as dental caries, are areas of tooth decay caused by plaque buildup on and around the tooth. Cavities can lead to other issues when left untreated, including tooth sensitivity, pain, and difficulty chewing our food. 

Untreated cavities can progress to the point where they cause more troubling problems, such as infection, abscess, or even the need for extraction of the tooth. Fortunately, there are plenty of safe and effective treatments to a) prevent cavity formation and b) deal with any existing cavities once they’ve formed. 

But speaking of how they form, well, just how do they form? 

Cause #1 – Poor Oral Hygiene 

This is the big one! If this one gets taken care of with proper care and maintenance, a lot of the following cavity problems will turn out to take care of themselves! So, what is poor oral hygiene, and how do we work to improve it? 

Let’s start simple. What kind of toothbrush and toothpaste do you have? Remember to use fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush to most effectively get rid of cavity-causing plaque. Now about flossing. With flossing, it’s essential to make sure to floss daily since it gets where brushes can’t and clean those hard-to-reach spots where plaque loves to hide. By incorporating these habits into your daily routine, you can protect your teeth from cavities and maintain optimal oral health.

Cause # 2 – Sugary and Acidic Foods 

This should come as no surprise to most of us! Especially in the event that it’s paired with cause number one above, a diet that’s full of sugary or acidic foods is a surefire way to end up in our chair while we work to take care of your cavities! 

This is because the sugary foods we love to eat can provide the perfect environment for the plaque-causing bacteria that can cause cavities to form. And acidic foods, on the other hand, do a great job of stripping away the protective layers of enamel from the teeth that serve as the first line of defense against cavities. 

So what’s the solution? No sugary foods? 

Luckily, no! The key is moderation and always brushing and flossing thoroughly after indulging in a treat. Keep that in mind, and you’re in the clear! 

Dr. John Whittemore and Dr. Todd Gruen share information on cavities, so read to learn all about the most common causes of cavities.

Cause # 3 – Lack of Fluoride 

Now here’s an interesting one! Did you know that we’ve been intentionally adding fluoride to our tap water as a public health policy since way back in 1950? The reason is this naturally-occurring mineral, present in all different sorts of foods, works wonders for the enamel that strengthens our teeth and protects them from issues like cavities. 

Not only that, but it’s standard pediatric dentistry for children to receive topical fluoride treatments starting from the growth of their very first baby tooth! 

Increasingly, the dental community has come to recognize that adult fluoride treatment can be a fantastic option for many patients over age 18, particularly if they tend to brush and floss regularly, eat right, and still wind up with issues in their dental health. 

Sometimes the body just doesn’t produce enough fluoride or get enough from external sources, so a super-charged topical application can work wonders! 

Cause # 4 – Dry Mouth 

Dry Mouth is a common side effect of many regularly-prescribed medications for all sorts of different healthcare concerns, and it can also occur due to numerous other disorders or conditions. 

That being said, dry mouth is also an issue regarding cavity formation, as the body’s saliva works to keep your teeth and gums happy and healthy. If you or someone in your family has to manage a dry mouth due to one or more factors, we may prescribe something to stimulate the production of saliva to keep your mouth healthy and happy. 

Dr. John Whittemore and Dr. Todd Gruen share information on cavities, so read to learn all about the most common causes of cavities.

Come Visit Us for All Your Dental Needs! 

Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to learn more about the common causes of cavities! Now that we’ve done that, let’s take care of the next part of that equation – your dental treatment! 

You can call us at 901-754-0540 or fill out this quick and easy online form, and we can get started on a quality of care that has made us a Germantown and Memphis staple for more than 40 years! 

Dr. Todd, Dr. John, and the Germantown Dental Group team are ready and waiting to give you the smile of a lifetime!