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"Why am I getting Cavities?"

You came in for a routine cleaning and when doctor comes in for check-up, you hear those four dreaded words that seem to run in slow motion: "You. Have. A. Cavity."

But you brush and floss and come in for cleaning appointments every few months. Why is this happening?

There could be various different reasons and at its simplest, some of us are biologically more prone to getting cavities than others. We know, this is unfair, but across the board, some people have thinner/weaker enamel and others have stronger enamel.

Along the same line of thinking - teeth also come in different shapes. Most of the time, it's not dramatic, but teeth may have grooves where bacteria and food can easily get stuck. Once they start living there, you'll be more prone to cavities. Sometimes, if a restoration isn't smoothly connected to your natural tooth, bacteria and food can also get trapped there and cause decay. In this second case, it's highly recommended to go back to the dentist who did that filling/crown/restoration to have it fixed. Depending on the situation, cavities can also occur underneath or around existing restorations if they're not adequately cared for.

Low saliva production also can lead to more caries. Saliva not only helps wash away debris, but it also contains digestive enzymes which help break down food and has some acid-neutralizing abilities. With dry mouth cases, it's important to increase hydration. There may be suitable over-the-counter solutions at the pharmacy you may decide to try. For the best advice, check with your dentist the next time you're in for an appointment.

Have you head about biofilm? Biofilm is a clear, colourless layer of bacteria in your mouth that coats your teeth. It might sound unappealing, but everyone has it and biofilm can be found in many places (for example, if you ever noticed any slimy rocks near bodies of water - the slime is biofilm, which are collections of living bacteria and other organisms). What makes up oral biofilm is different for different people though - and certain strains of bacteria tend to cause more cavities than others.

Good news is, even if a person is more prone to cavities, there are still factors that they can control to reduce or even inhibit the formation of new caries. One of the big ones is eating sweets. We've all probably heard it a thousand times that cavity-causing bacteria go after the sugars in your mouth. Once they gobble up the sugars, they release decay-causing acids. So, you can definitely control the amount of sugars you consume (and yes, it is easier said than done!) It is especially important not to eat so many processed and/or concentrated sweeteners. You might also consider, at the very least, to rinse your mouth out with pure water after consuming sweets.

Lastly, we hate to be so direct but even if you brush and floss twice a day, it doesn't necessarily mean that your doing it correctly with effective technique.

  • Remember to take 2 minutes to brush each time.

  • Remember to floss.

  • Remember to brush every tooth (even paying special attention to the back teeth)

  • Remember to brush the gums to toughen them up as well

  • Remember to brush/floss all the surfaces of the teeth as well (soooo, we're looking at 5 surfaces of each tooth - the cheek side, the biting-surface side, the tongue side, and the two sides that you can't brush - between the teeth is where floss is used).

  • Also remember to use the floss to trace each tooth from the top to slightly below the gum line.

  • For your personalized Oral Hygiene Appointment, call our office at (416) 226-6688 to really get the brushing/flossing technique down to a science!

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