What Causes Dental Cavities?

Dental cleaning on a young man with UV light.

Cavity Causes

What causes cavities and exactly what are cavities? What are the warning signs of a cavity?

These are very common questions that dental patients ask our dentists.

Cavities are a common oral health problem caused by tooth decay damaging both the outer coating of the tooth (enamel) and the inner exposed dentin.

When we fail to brush our teeth the resulting bacteria that naturally occur in our saliva turns the food particles into acid, which in turn creates plaque. Plaque build-up sticks to the teeth, dissolving enamel and creating holes in our teeth called cavities.

Preventing cavities is one of the primary reasons you should take young children to see a pediatric dentist before the problem occurs. Get in touch if you need help finding a dentist. In the meantime, here are some Tips for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit.

But how does tooth decay start and why are some of us more susceptible to what causes cavities in the first place?

In this article, our dentists at Country Dental will answer some of the more common questions about what causes cavities are and explore options for the prevention and control of cavities.

Can Dry Mouth Cause Cavities?

Yes. In general, people with dry mouth tend to be more prone to cavities because they do not have the saliva needed to neutralize the acid in the mouth.

Over Brushing – Is that What Causes Cavities?

There is such a thing as brushing too much and/or too hard. Over-brushing your teeth can damage your teeth by cutting away enamel and making your teeth more susceptible to decay and developing cavities.

Can Flossing Cause Cavities?

No. However, not flossing can be what causes cavities. Failing to floss your teeth at least once a day (or not brushing your teeth at least twice a day) can leave unwanted cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth, allowing plaque to build up and promote tooth decay.

Can Stress Cause Cavities?

Medical science has confirmed that stress can have several affects on the body, one of which can lead to a greater likelihood of getting a tooth cavity. Firstly, stress can trigger a dry mouth and lack of saliva, and as we know, saliva is needed to neutralize the acids in your mouth. Secondly, stress can affect your immune response resulting in inflammation throughout the body. Stress can also make you crave sugary foods – sugar foods are what causes cavities and are not good for your oral health.

Can A Change in Diet Cause Cavities?

Yes. Increasing the number of sugary foods or acidic foods in your diet can increase your likelihood of developing teeth cavities.

What About Gum Recession and Cavities?

The part of your tooth that is protected by your gum is particularly susceptible to decay and/or cavities. As gum recession exposes more of this part of your tooth you will develop a higher risk for cavities.

Can Chemo Cause Cavities?

If you have recently gone through chemotherapy you may have likely experienced the symptom of a dry mouth, which as we know, is a predominant condition for what causes cavities.

Can Braces Cause Cavities?

Orthodontic braces can make it very difficult to properly brush and floss your teeth. Because of this, it is possible for some people to develop small cavities during orthodontic treatment.

Can Illness Cause Tooth Decay & Cavities?

If you resort to sucking on cough candies or throat lozenges while feeling sick you could be at an increased risk for cavities. The prolonged exposure to sugar in the cough candies (particularly if you suck on these when going to bed) can be very harmful to your oral health. Try to find sugar free cough candies or take care to brush your teeth after having a cough candy.

About Country Dental

Country Dental offers emergency and family dental services at three locations including in Fergus, Cambridge, and Toronto, ON. Check out these Country Dental website pages to learn more about Dental Fluoride Treatments and Dental Fillings.

Dental sealants also offer a lot of benefits in the prevention of cavities.

For updates, please follow us @CountryDental on twitter and/or like us on Facebook.

If you still have questions about what causes cavities or would like to make an appointment with one of our local dentists, please contact our dental office nearest you:

Toronto:                416-335-7377

Cambridge:           519-620-7474

Fergus:                   519-787-7878

If you suspect you have cavities and need to see a dentist:

Book An Appointment Now

OralB.com also has more detailed information on Tooth Decay and Cavities: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment.