Understanding the Causes of Cavities and How to Prevent Them

Dentist Blog

Cavities are one of the most common dental problems experienced by adults and children alike. Caused by a buildup of bacteria and a combination of factors, cavities are not only painful, but they also lead to tooth decay and eventual tooth loss if left untreated.

In this blog post, we will discuss the major causes of cavities and offer practical tips on how to prevent them. 

Poor Oral Hygiene

Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of cavities. Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly allows plaque to accumulate on them, eventually building up to tartar and causing erosion of the enamel. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acid, which eats away at the enamel - the hard outer layer of your teeth. To prevent cavities, it is advisable to practice good oral hygiene every day by brushing a couple of times a day, flossing and using an antibacterial mouthwash regularly.

Sugary Foods and Drinks

Sugar is another major culprit in causing cavities. When we consume sugary foods or drinks, the bacteria in our mouth feed off the sugar and produce acid that attacks the enamel. This acid attack can last for several minutes after eating. To prevent cavities, it is recommended to reduce your sugar intake and brush your teeth every time you consume sugary foods or drinks.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Acidic foods and drinks like citrus fruits, soft drinks, and sports drinks can also cause cavities. These foods and drinks have a lower pH, which means they are acidic and can erode the enamel of your teeth. To prevent cavities, try to limit your consumption of acidic foods and drinks, especially those high in sugar.

Dry Mouth

Saliva is essential in washing away bacteria and food debris in your mouth. When you have a dry mouth due to medication or other health conditions, there is a decreased amount of saliva production. This can lead to an increase in bacteria, plaque buildup, and eventual cavities. To prevent cavities, drink plenty of water, use sugar-free gum or lozenges or ask your dentist if they recommend a moisturising mouthwash.


Lastly, genetics also play a role in cavity formation. Some people are more susceptible to cavities because they have thinner enamel, a higher number of oral bacteria or an inability to fight off bacteria in their mouths. To prevent cavities, if you know you have a family history of cavities, it is important that you see your dentist more regularly and adhere strictly to a good oral hygiene routine.

Contact a local dentist to learn more.


23 January 2024

Dental Care and Seniors: Helping to Maintain Your Smile

As you age, it can become harder to take care of your teeth. Motor challenges can make it hard to floss, while memory issues may make it easy to overlook brushing. Whether you are a senior looking for solutions to some of the common dental problems or a senior with specific questions about cavities or oral surgery, you have come to the right place. In this blog, I am going to touch on a range of topics related to seniors and oral health. This is the type of resource I wish my mum would have had access to in her senior years, and I hope you enjoy having access to it during yours. I appreciate you reading my posts.