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Cavities Can Happen – Sweet Tooth or Not

By Jill Feilmeier on November 12, 2013 in Dental Health

Dentist talking to patient
So you don't eat sweets. That may be great for your waistline, but you're still at risk for cavities.

How? Consider these reasons.

Listen up, pasta and bread lovers: Foods like white bread and pasta are made of simple carbohydrates, which are high in sugar and starch and stick to your teeth. Tooth decay starts with plaque, a sticky film of bacteria and food debris that coat the teeth every day. The bacteria produce acid, which attacks tooth enamel, leading to decay.

You don't have a good oral health routine: Do you brush and floss regularly? If you don't have good oral health habits, you will be at risk for cavities. Use fluoride toothpaste and rinse after flossing. Be gentle with your floss – snapping it between teeth can injure your gums.

You don't visit the dentist regularly: Professional dental cleanings are important to help keep your teeth and gums healthy. If plaque builds up over time, it can harden at your gum line and become tartar. Tartar can damage your gums and can be removed only by a dental professional. If tartar goes untreated, gums will pull away from teeth, creating pockets that can become infected. Tooth loss is a possibility.

To keep your smile sweet and healthy:

• Practice good oral hygiene after every meal. Don't forget to floss!
• Get sealants for your children. This invisible plastic coating will help prevent cavities. It's a great start for a lifetime of good oral health.
• Don't smoke. Smokers are four times more likely than non-smokers to develop periodontal (gum disease), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you are surprised at your next dental appointment, remember factors other than sugar can be holding you back from your perfect smile!