Should adults be getting cavities? This is a great question, and one that I believe the general public might not know the answer to.
As a dentist, my answer to this question is no. Adults should not be getting any new cavities. For these patients, care should be centered on extending the life of the teeth and ensuring proper dental health. And while this may include taking care of old dentistry that addressed cavities, no new cavities should be surfacing.
With that said, there is a small percentage of the adult population that is still getting cavities. I’d like to talk about why that is, because it’s 100 percent preventable.
What Causes Cavities?
In order to prevent cavities in adults, it’s important to understand what is causing this issue. For some people, there are genetic factors that leave them more susceptible to cavities. However, that is a small part of the whole equation. Even for these patients, cavities can be prevented.
With that said, the number one cause of cavities is a person’s diet.
For a more scientific answer – cavities are caused by the acid byproducts created by the bacteria in sugar. These can be found in sugars and carbohydrates. However, liquid carbohydrates like sodas, energy drinks, sweet tea and coffee with lots of sugar, are by far the biggest cause. A big factor is HOW the soda is consumed. It is better to shotgun the soda than sip if you must consume soda.
Processed foods are also a big problem. Not only will these foods feed cavity-causing bacteria, they are sticky and tend to accumulate in and around your teeth where cavities form.
Knowing the causes of cavities, prevention breaks down into two camps – mechanical prevention and improved nutrition. Mechanical prevention essentially comes down to brushing and flossing every day. The more effective you are at removing plaque from your teeth, the lesser the chances will be that you develop cavities.
To improve results, I highly recommend all patients use an electric toothbrush. It’s also important that you brush your teeth for at least two minutes, angling the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to ensure that you remove all plaque.
Improving your diet is also important. Foods like celery, carrots and apples will literally clean your teeth as you eat them, which will have the opposite affect that carbohydrates, sugars and processed foods have on your teeth.
Lastly, it’s important to schedule cleanings twice a year. Doing so will ensure that you have the protection of early detection. So even if you are someone who is genetically prone to cavities, the dentist will be able to catch any problems early and save you thousands of dollars in dental care.
To schedule a cleaning or request a consultation, call us at (813) 689-4226 today.