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How You Can Develop Cavities Even With Good Oral Hygiene

Cavities in people with good oral hygiene is not as rare as one may think.  These can be broken down into two categories: the cavities in the pits and fissures of teeth, and decay in between the teeth.

The cavities that develop in the grooves (pits and fissures) of the teeth are almost impossible to prevent with good hygiene, because grooves that are deep enough and narrow enough will prevent any sort of decent cleaning down at the base of the grooves.  Food or drink will pack into the pits, and decay develops as a result.  We recommend the use of sealants or very small fillings in the pits to prevent larger cavities.  Sealants are recommended by the Canadian Dental Association to prevent this sort of decay, and are usually applied to the teeth at a young age.  Despite good vigilance, sometimes we see cavities on teeth that are not even fully emerged into the mouth, and are not yet sealable!

The other type of decay is much more preventable:  the decay between teeth.  We know that teeth do not decay on their own, and that there must be some sort of acid that is doing the dissolving of teeth (and thus causing the decay).  This can come directly in the form of acidic beverages (soft drinks are particularly noteworthy), or indirectly from a carbohydrate-containing beverage (including milk) where the sugars are metabolized by mouth bacteria into acids.  (See link here).  In the course of a day, if there is constant exposure to acids or sugars, no amount of hygiene will compensate for it.  This includes natural fruit sugars, which some people think are somehow better than refined sugars.  (Consider them just as bad).  For best results, avoid snacking or sipping on sugary/acidic drinks for prolonged periods of time.  If your job is as a sommelier, this goes double for you!

Finally, stomach acids from heartburn or bulemia / repeated vomiting that end up on the teeth will also cause damage.  Please seek medical advice for management of these problems, as the dental damage is often slow and painless until it reaches an advanced stage.

Please contact us for more specific advice on how to best prevent decay!

Dr. Elston Wong Portrait

About Dr. Elston Wong

Dr. Elston Wong completed his dental degree at The University of Toronto in 1999 before arriving in Barrie in 2002. After graduating, he continued to learn everything he could about dentistry. Now he has taken the time to share important information for anyone to read.

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