Surprising Factors That Can Cause Cavities

When it comes to cavities, prevention is always the best course of action. Getting rid of cavities often involves drilling and filling. If left untreated, cavities can lead to more serious issues such as root canal procedures and extractions.

Tooth decay is the first step toward developing cavities. Minimizing the possibility of tooth decay can reduce your risk of developing cavities. Discover some surprising factors that can lead to tooth decay and cavities.

Dry Mouth

There are a variety of reasons why people experience dry mouth. Saliva helps neutralize acids and bacteria in the mouth. If saliva becomes thin, bacteria stays on the gums and teeth, leading to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Dry mouth can be caused by food allergies, vigorous exercise, medications, and medical treatments, such as chemotherapy.

Medication and Cough Drops

Certain medications may lead to dryness in your mouth. Ask your doctor about prescription medications and possible side effects, such as dry mouth. Often people will reach for something such as a cough drop to moisten their mouths. However, people who suck on cough drops containing ingredients such as dextrose exposing their teeth and gums to sugar. This can lead to tooth decay. A better option to help produce more saliva is to use oral products that contain xylitol, an ingredient often found in sugar-free gum.

Stress and Depression

Depression and stress are common afflictions caused by a variety of life conditions. They often put sufferers in a frame of mind that can lead to skipping oral hygiene routines such as brushing and flossing. Antidepressants can lead to dry mouth. Often people who feel stressed and fatigued reach for sugary snacks and energy drinks, which can be harmful to their teeth.

Ongoing Exposure to Sugar

Most people recognize sugar is the leading culprit when it comes to tooth decay and cavities. But exposure to sugar also makes a difference. People who suck on lollipops, chew sugary gym, or sip soda throughout the day are constantly exposing their teeth to sugar. The result is likely to be tooth decay, cavities, and other related dental issues.

Brushing Too Much

Often people believe you can’t get too much of a good thing, but that is not true. Brushing too much can weaken the enamel on the teeth and make people more likely to develop tooth decay. It is also important to use the right toothbrush to clean the teeth without damaging the enamel. Discuss proper tooth brushing techniques with your dentist or oral hygienist.

Tooth Location

While this might be something a person cannot control, the location of certain teeth can lead to tooth decay. Often decay happens in back teeth, including premolars and molars. This is due to the location of the teeth as well as the fact they have more grooves that collect food particles. It is important to brush these teeth properly. Ask your dentist about protective tooth coverings and other ways to keep your back teeth in good shape. It is important to brush your teeth after eating and drinking to reduce the development of plaque that leads to tooth decay.


Another factor we cannot control is our age. Both younger and older people are more prone to getting cavities. Children should visit a hygienist to learn more about brushing, flossing, and ongoing tooth care. Older adults need to watch for signs, such as dry mouth or certain medications, that can accelerate tooth decay.

These are a few of the unexpected factors that can lead to tooth decay and cavities. Talk to your dentist about the cause of cavities and what you can do to prevent them.

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