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Risk Factors for Cavities

August 1, 2013

general dentistryYou’ve heard all your life that keeping your teeth healthy means avoiding sugary foods and brushing twice a day. But in fact, when it comes to cavities, there are other risk factors besides sugary foods and not brushing that you should be aware of. In today’s post, we’d like to go over some of those. We hope you find them informative, and if you have any questions about what you see, don’t hesitate to give our Los Angeles dental office a call.

Already having cavities

All patients face a risk of developing cavities, but patients who have had cavities in the past are more likely to develop new ones in the future. That’s because cavities weaken the protective outer layer of teeth, known as enamel. If you’ve had cavities in the past, make good oral habits a priority to protect your smile going forward.

Lack of fluoride

Why is fluoride added to toothpaste and community water supplies?  Because it supports oral health. Specifically, it attracts important minerals, ensuring that the enamel stays strong in the face of bacteria and acid. Not getting enough fluoride means your enamel will be weaker and more vulnerable to decay. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste, drinking tap water, and including a fluoride mouthwash into your daily routine will all help you prevent cavities.

Family history

Not every family makes brushing and flossing a priority, but that’s not the only way family history can contribute to cavities. For some patients, an increased risk of cavities comes down to genetics. If the members of your family seem to be naturally susceptible, make regular home care and checkups a priority.

Dry mouth

Saliva has at least two important functions: it helps us flush bacteria out of our mouths, and it neutralizes acid to protect teeth from decay. If you struggle with dry mouth, it’s important that you stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day, or you may want something like xylitol mints or gum, which promotes a neutral pH.

These are just a few of the possible risk factors associated with cavities. To learn more, or to come in for a consultation, call Westside Dental Associates to reserve an appointment. Dr. Les Latner provides comprehensive dental care to patients from Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West LA, and Mar Vista.

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