Cavities Are Not Just For Kids

Adult Cavities, & Why They Occur

When you think about cavities, you may think about sugary treats, sodas, and cereals. Foods that most likely caused that cavity you had when you were just a kid. But one day down the road, while at a routine dental check-up, your dentist tells you that you have two cavities. Surprise! Cavities are not just horror stories told to kids to scare them away from indulging in too much sugar. Cavities are not a fairy tale to get them to brush their teeth, either. Cavities can occur in any mouth for many reasons.

Did you know that more than 90% of American adults have had some form of tooth decay in a permanent tooth at some point in their life? Holy cow! And roughly 30% of these people currently have untreated decay. Aging does not allow us to outgrow cavities, though that would make life much easier. Unfortunately, age often brings about a higher risk of decay, and therefore, cavities in permanent teeth.

The following are a few common causes for dental cavities (caries) in adults.

Receding Gums & Cavities

If your gums are receding for any reason, teeth roots are exposed and susceptible to rapid plaque buildup. Then the cavities come, followed by the possibility of gum disease if that’s not what already caused the exposed roots. Be sure not to brush or floss too rough. Gentle is best to repair gums. 

To keep healthy adult teeth and to prevent tooth decay, gums need care as well. Follow these tips for healthy gums:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle while brushing
  • Clean the inside of the central incisors by brushing vertically
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride and the ADA seal
  • Floss daily to remove food stuck in gums
  • After eating, rinse out the mouth 
  • Use mouthwash to prevent gum disease
  • If you happen to smoke, stop!

Weakened Fillings & Cavities

While modern filling materials are much more durable and effective, sometimes older dental fillings just don’t hold up. After years of wear and tear, inlays or onlays on primary teeth can break. If the seal on composite fillings or dental sealants cracks or weakens in general, plaque and tartar can accumulate and lead to further or new decay. Some fillings fail, and another treatment is necessary.

Old fillings were often silver or gold in color, which are noticeable and less appealing than one that mimics tooth enamel color. While a gold filling inlay or onlay is more durable than composite material, it is less aesthetically pleasing. 

Composite resin fillings are a superior choice to fill a cavity. These composite materials create a tight fit that bonds to the tooth. Resin can build back tooth structure lost in severe cases. Resin fillings can also contain fluoride, which is a great preventative measure against further tooth decay.

Fun Fact: Dental filling procedures have been around for at least 9,000 years! Ancient stone drills and beeswax filling were the way to cure dental caries in the past. 

Diet Change and Cavities

We all go through phases. Sometimes we get a new hairstyle or start taking a new workout class. Other times, our taste in food evolves, or certain lifestyle changes alter our chances of going to the grocery and cooking healthy meals. This is when processed foods and snacks become easier to grab and go rather than a balanced diet. Next thing you know, all the sugar in the cereal bar that you love is coming back to haunt you in cavity form. Read labels. Focus on being healthy.

In addition, some medications, vitamins, and supplements may be causing your dental cavities. Check the sugar content or ingredients on those chewable tablets, cough drops, and gummy vitamins.

Cavity Prevention

  • Keep up a good dental hygiene routine – brush and floss regularly.
  • Go easy on your mouth. Rough brushing does more harm than good.
  • Don’t overindulge in starchy and sugary food or drink. Moderation is key.
  • Schedule regular dental check-ups.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Take care of that tooth decay! Don’t let it worsen.

Knowing your body is helpful in many health aspects. If you notice tooth sensitivity or any tooth pain or ache when chewing or even resting, call the dentist. Take care of business early on to prevent further damage in the future. 

Your smile can brighten someone’s day, so why not keep it healthy along with the rest of your body. Request an appointment with us today, and together we can prevent pesky cavities. Snodgrass-King offers adult dentistry services at multiple locations in Tennessee.