Suppose you are wondering why you continue to get cavities despite practising good oral hygiene. In that case, it's because other factors contribute to tooth decay and cavity formation even when you diligently brush your teeth and practice interdental cleaning. To trace why this happens, let's briefly summarise how cavity formation happens and take a look into your mouth. First, human saliva plays a big part in keeping an alkaline and healthy oral environment, supplying nutrients, and helps in early digestion. Cavity formation is a result of a change in the oral environment when food is introduced. Some bacteria, specifically Streptococcusmutans, thrive and multiply on this sudden environmental change.
Streptococcusmutans is the primary bacteria identified to cause plaque formation. Streptococcus species are part of the normal flora which help protect us from foreign pathogens and aids in digestion. However, S. mutans are strong lactic acid producers after the metabolism of simple sugars. Therefore, if there are available carbohydrates, S. mutans will continue to convert these to lactic acid while it creates biofilm enabling it to latch on the surface of the teeth. If not removed, it will expand the biofilm and produce an acidic environment solubilizing teeth enamel, leadingto cavity formation, gum disease, and worse, chronic illnesses of the heart and others. With this said, why do you still keep on having cavities even though you practice good oral hygiene? Here are some factors to consider.
Factors that Contribute to Dental Cavities
The three main reasons why you continue to have cavities are lifestyle, diseases and bacterial strain.
Are you eating healthy? Food intake can contribute to or help fight cavity formation. We can't help but eat regularly to live. However, what we eat can contribute to how the community of bacteria reacts within our mouth. The type of food and frequency of eating result in a sudden change of pH within the mouth, thereby initiating biofilm formation and plaque buildup.
Eating sugar-rich carbohydrates results in a sharp decrease in the pH level. A lower pH level means an acidic state, which demineralised and weakens teeth. The frequency of food intake also plays a role in cavity formation. Snacking in between regular meals results in the same acidic pH level despite the amount you eat. This means that your mouth will continue to be in an acidic state, promoting plaque-forming bacteria to grow, weakening the teeth's surface, and limiting the time for remineralisation. Allowing enough time for teeth to remineralise is equivalently important as keeping it clean. It strengthens the teeth through calcium-enriched saliva, while proper oral hygiene keeps them clean from bacteria.
Dry mouth is a characteristic side effect of maintenance medication taken for heart disease and other illnesses. Some examples of drugs that affect saliva production are antihistamines like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroids, anti-hypertensives, diuretics and other medicines for mental illnesses treatment. If you are taking one of these prescriptions, you should expect a decrease in saliva production. A decrease in saliva production limits the regular flushing that preserves the alkalinity of the mouth. Human saliva is generally alkaline in pH, which supports the reintroduction of minerals to strengthen the teeth and helps maintain a balanced oral microbiome. To counter this problem, you may drink alkaline water to help wash and cleanse the mouth while introducing an alkaline environment.
If you have a pre-existing disease like diabetes and other health conditions that affect the pH of salivary production, you are at higher risk of developing a dental cavity. Diabetic patients are at increased risk for cavity formation due to an increased salivary glucose level, dry mouth, and the need for frequent snacking. Diabetes is characterised by elevated salivary glucose due to uncontrolled blood sugar level. This high amount of sugar feeds the Streptococcus mutans strain that proliferates quickly. Aside from sugar-filled saliva, hyperglycemia causes dry mouth. This doubles the risk of cavity formation as S. mutans continue to multiply, providing an acidic environment for a long time because of the limited supply of saliva. Eating in small amounts frequently is also recommended to maintain a sugar level. As we have covered earlier, this promotes an acidic environment and prevents remineralisation, thereby weakening the teeth.
Streptococcus Mutans Strain
There are many strains of S. mutans, and some of them are more virulent. Some types have a high adhesive property making them tougher and more aggressive. Virulent Streptococcusmutans strains have specific adhesive proteins called SpaP and Cnm. These strains are resistant to the antimicrobials present in human saliva and exhibit high acid tolerance and adhesive property. This means they are not killed even with a regular supply of healthy saliva. They continue to multiply in a highly acidic environment and attach themselves firmly to the teeth's surface, making them harder to remove. If you are infected with super-strong S. mutans, regular dental hygiene will be ineffective in removing these strains. You will need a more powerful agent and dental practice to help you counter this type of strains.
Understanding other factors contributing to the formation of dental cavities is essential in developing an individualised dental care routine. This means that regular oral hygiene is not enough to control the number of bacteria. You need to either amplify your dental hygiene practice or work together with a lifestyle change. Either way, the fact remains that you need to act on these oral challenges to prevent chronic oral and systemic illnesses from happening. Unless you need to eat frequent small snacks like diabetic patients, you can reduce plaque and cavity formation with healthy eating habits. For individuals with compromised health issues, exploring new and advanced dental care kits that can help you manage oral hygiene in addition to regular brushing and flossing.
Elevate your oral hygiene to a new level by including Lumoral into your oral health care routine. Lumoral helps control and fight plaque-building bacteria. It targets the source, S. mutans, effectively killing it even in biofilm and preventing biofilm formation from the start. Lumoral is a scientifically proven and extensively researched method for prevention of oral diseases. Bring home your own Lumoral kit today!
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