I’ve discussed in a previous blog the idea that adults should not be getting new cavities. However, I continue to see adult patients who require fillings. They brush and floss daily and take generally good care of their oral health, and yet, cavities continue to form.
It’s very frustrating for these patients because to their knowledge they are doing everything right, and nothing seems to help.
In my experience, adult patients who continue to get cavities typically have an underlying issue that puts them at an increased risk of caries (cavities). Below are four factors that increase an adult’s risk of cavities.
1. A high-sugar diet
Patients who consume a large amount of processed foods, fast food, soda and energy drinks are at a higher risk of developing cavities. This is true for two reasons. First, these foods are laden with sugar that is difficult to clean and can form pockets of plaque that turn into cavities. Second, this type of diet changes the bacterial flora in the mouth, making it more difficult to defend against cavities and more susceptible to caries lesions forming.
2. Dry mouth
Patients with dry mouth, either due to a systemic illness or medication side effect, are also at an increased risk of cavities. Saliva is responsible for washing away food particles, balancing pH and breaking down sugars and starches in your mouth – all of which help prevent cavities. When the mouth is dry, saliva becomes thicker and stickier and these basic functions suffer. Thus, increasing the risk of cavities in these patients.
3. Ill-fitting dentistry
When dentistry such as crowns and bridges are not properly fitted to the teeth, they can create pockets in the mouth where plaque can accumulate. These ridges and ledges are difficult to clean and become a breeding ground for bacteria, which eventually leads to decay. This is just one reason I stress working with a trusted dentist. Treating issues in your mouth, when done correctly, should not create new issues such as cavities.
4. Soft teeth
While many people believe their cavities are due to soft teeth, I only find this to be true on rare occasions. However, for the few patients I do see with soft teeth, cavities can develop in a matter of months. In typical patients, this can take well over a year. If you do have soft teeth, talk to your dentist about your treatment options. Oftentimes, these individuals require extensive dentistry and do not reach adulthood with their natural teeth.
For all of the patients above, I highly recommend using a product like CariFree that addresses the underlying cause of cavities using a multi-pronged approach. I’m not sponsored by this company, but I truly believe in the products they’ve created – I use them myself. CariFree products help balance pH and promote remineralization of the teeth, which helps address the underlying issues outlined above.
Are you getting frequent cavities as an adult? Our team can help you develop a strategy to fight caries bacteria and take control of your dental health. Call our office to set up a consultation.