Keeping up on dental health helps to prevent tooth decay. When acids from plaque bacteria attack tooth enamel, a hole can eventually form that is a cavity. Daily cleaning plaque from teeth helps to prevent cavities from forming, but here are a few more things about cavities that you may not have known.
- Cavities are most common in children and older adults.
- Water fluoridation has reduced tooth decay by 25%. This is because fluoride, or “nature’s cavity fighter,” protects and rebuilds tooth enamel.
- Cavities can develop on the chewing surface of the tooth (pit and fissure cavities), the side of the tooth (smooth surface cavities), or even the root of the tooth (root cavities).
- Saliva helps to prevent cavities by bringing in minerals that rebuild tooth enamel and by neutralizing acids in the mouth.
- Children who lose baby teeth to cavities are more likely to have crooked or crowded permanent teeth. They are also more likely to experience tooth decay as an adult.
- Those with a dry mouth, heartburn, or who don’t get enough fluoride have a higher risk of developing cavities.
- Plaque bacteria uses the sugars in foods and drinks to produce acids. This means that frequently snacking or drinking soda throughout the day increases the risk of tooth decay because your teeth are constantly under attack from acids.