Sugar causes cavities, right? Yes, excess consumption of sugar without the proper preventive care to combat it can certainly be responsible for some cavities. Unfortunately, there are many people who are left feeling confused when they cut back on sugar or are diligent about cleaning their teeth and still end up with tooth decay. There may be some unexpected culprits that are hard at work dismantling your oral health. Do you fall into any of these risk categories?
Your Medication Is Stealing Your Saliva
Saliva is important not only because it aids in the digestion of your food, but because it continuously cleans off your teeth, keeping some plaque and bacteria at bay. Dealing with dry mouth? That could be the root of all the evil behind your cavities. The medications you are taking may be responsible for causing dry mouth and that side effect, in turn, is causing cavities to develop. You can hydrate all day long with water, but this still won’t be enough to combat the dryness. Consult with your dentist about the dry mouth problem, ask your doctor if another medicine can be prescribed to avoid this side effect, and seek products that contain the natural sweetener xylitol – often found in sugar-free gum – which helps restore saliva and create a barrier against acids.
Allergies Are Wreaking Havoc on Your Entire Self
Seasonal allergies are full-body suffering – not only are your eyes watering, your nose running, and your ears clogged, your mouth is dry. And if you’re taking an antihistamine that is successfully combatting your allergy symptoms, it’s not helping your saliva production. That dry mouth – see above – can lead to cavities. Likewise, cavities can come from trying to fight the sore throat that develops with postnasal drip for allergy sufferers. If you’re sucking on cough drops or hard candy all day long, you’re constantly soaking your teeth in sugars and acids for guaranteed decay.
Food allergies can be a problem for oral health as well. When undiagnosed, food allergies can cause a saliva imbalance. This isn’t the symptom of dry mouth, it’s your mouth having too much thick saliva and not enough thin saliva. In order to successfully fight tartar and plaque, your mouth must have a balanced amount of both kinds of saliva so that bacteria does not easily cling to your gums and teeth. Without the ability to neutralize acids and bacteria, you’re setting yourself up for cavities.
Weight Loss Isn’t Being Done Right
Fad diets are popular for the weight-loss miracles they promise. Don’t eat carbs! You’ll lose weight. Only drink these shakes. You’ll lose weight. Any company or “expert” can promote their latest innovation in weight loss, but diets that are heavy on one nutrient over another can lead to deficiencies in your oral health that can cause cavities. Likewise, jumping on the fitness bandwagon and relying greatly on energy drinks or sports drinks to refuel yourself is a surefire route to tooth decay – those beverages are loaded with sugars and acids.
Be Proactive About Your Oral Health
Of course, there are always the main culprits too that are invading your enamel and causing cavities to bloom: Laziness is no excuse for not tending to your teeth. Brushing and flossing needn’t take more than three minutes in the evening. Fear is another problem plaguing many a dental patient – they worry about getting in the dentist’s chair, even for the most innocuous treatment like a professional dental cleaning. But here’s what you need to know: Delaying any repairs for your teeth is unwise. Eventually, the decay will become so bad that your tooth may abscess, requiring that it be pulled. It’s also possible that the cavity will be so bad you’ll need a root canal or a dental crown to repair it. No-fear dentistry is available to help you get through even your apprehension of a professional dental exam and cleaning.
It takes time for plaque and bacteria to build up on your teeth and eat away enough at the enamel to cause tooth decay. But you don’t really have time to waste. Make your appointment with Dr. John Moore at Cosmetic Dental Associates in San Antonio to discuss the preventive care options that are right for you.