cavities

These 5 Factors Can Put You at a Higher Risk for Cavities

Cavities are areas of a tooth that have decayed because of the work of certain bacteria in the mouth. Although tooth decay is commonly associated with eating sugary foods, there are other conditions that can increase the possibility of tooth decay. Here are five important factors that can put you at a greater risk of having cavities.

1. Oral Bacteria

Generally, cavities occur when certain strains of bacteria accumulate on your tooth and feed on remnants of the sugar and carbohydrates that you eat. This process creates acids which react with the calcium-based enamel covering of the teeth and create porous areas which eventually become cavities. The volume of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth is one of most prominent factors that determines how fast you can develop cavities in your teeth.

2. Your Diet

The bacteria that cause cavities feed on sugar or carbohydrates to stay alive and multiply. Similarly, acidic foods and drinks can react with the calcium in the enamel and erode it. Increasing the level of acidity in the mouth can also make it more difficult for the saliva to restore the pH balance in the mouth. Reducing the consumption of sweets, chocolates and other sugary foods that leave residues on the teeth as well as acidic drinks can help to control the amount of cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth.

3. The Level of Dental Hygiene

Brushing your teeth correctly early in the morning and just before going to bed would reduce the risk of having cavities. Brushing and flossing dislodges trapped food particles and the plaque developed by oral bacteria. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing it can form a much harder and thicker substance called tartar. Removing tartar usually requires the help of a dentist. In addition, it is important to change your toothbrush regularly and use toothpaste that contains fluoride. Dentists recommend that you change out your toothbrush at least once every three months.

4. Dryness in the Mouth

A dry mouth can make the mouth cavity more acidic and promote tooth decay. Dryness in the mouth is frequently caused by inadequate flow of saliva. It may also be due to the use of medications and chemotherapy. However, when the saliva in the mouth is adequate, the minerals in it can neutralize the effect of excess acidity and even help to rebuild the enamel. To reduce dryness in the mouth, you should drink more water or use a mouth rinse with enamel-fortifying ingredients.

Dr. Chris A Mott

Dr. Chris A Mott

5. The Shape of Your Teeth

In many cases, tooth decay and cavities develop more in the large teeth at the back of the mouth. The premolars and molars are more prone to decay because of the tiny irregularities on their biting surface. These areas normally trap sugar, fiber and leftover food that serves as nutrition for bacteria. That is why it is very important to spend more time brushing the biting surface using a toothbrush with medium-hard bristles. However, the size of the fissures on these teeth differ based on genetics.

These are some of the most critical factors that increase the possibility of developing cavities and tooth decay. With proper dental care, you can reduce the impact of these risk factors and keep your teeth healthy for the rest of your life.

If you have any questions or concerns about your children’s teeth or are wondering whether or not you or your children may be more prone to cavities, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you and answer any questions you may have.

dentist

Tips for Managing Stress in Dental School

Ah, dental school. That time in one’s life when reality sets in and dreams are realized. It is important to learn how to cope with stressful feelings and situations that you will experience while studying in dental school. Effective stress management will enable you to discover the real sources of stress, handle them effectively, and enhance your emotional well being. As you read the following tips, you will discover how to identify and categorize emotional stressors so you can manage them successfully.

Create a Chart

Prepare a simple chart to categorize stressful situations. Take a pen and create a 2 by 2 inch chart that will give you two vertical columns and two horizontal rows – a total of four squares or quadrants. At the top of the first column, write “Important”, and then write “Unimportant” at the top of the second column. Beside the first row write “Can Control” and beside the second row write “Can’t Control”. This chart will make it easy for you to have a quick view of all the situations that can cause emotional stress at any particular time.

List the Emotional Stressors

Write down the issues, circumstances, tasks, or events that could cause you to become worried or overwhelmed. For example, the following list includes some situations that could occur during the semester in dental school:

  • You have 4 examinations and a practical session one after the other next week.
  • This weekend is your sister’s baby shower.
  • Your roommate has refused to clean up his dishes for over two weeks and you are fed up with taking care of this chore for him.
  • The patient you were to examine to fulfill your Perio requirement refused to turn up for the appointment.
  • The Taylor Swift concert you bought tickets for has been cancelled because she needed emergency medical treatment.

Categorize Each Situation

After listing the situations on paper, you should place each one in the appropriate quadrant. In this example, your examination and practical session are important and you can control how you prepare for them, so place them in the top-left quadrant. Similarly, your sister’s baby shower may be considered important so you may place it in the top-left quadrant. However, if you discover that you would not be able to attend because of your forth-coming examination, you could apologize and find a way to make it up later.

Dr Mott

Dr Chris Mott

Another important situation is your Perio requirement. But the fact that the patient did not show up is beyond your control. So you should place it in the bottom-left quadrant and find an alternative way to meet this requirement. Next, move to the relatively unimportant issues like the behavior of your roommate. Since you can control the effects of your roommate’s behavior by taking to him or simply finding a way to clean up at a more convenient time, you should place this in the top-right corner. The only situation that is unimportant and out of your control is the cancelled concert. Hopefully, you could get your tickets refunded.

This method of managing stress in dental school is quite effective and should be used as often as required. When you are surrounded by many stressful situations, you can easily use this technique to separate the important from the trivial issues and your will find it much easier to address each situation one after the other. You will be able to focus more on productive tasks without getting overwhelmed by mundane issues.

If you have any questions or concerns about your future career in the dental field, give Dr. Mott a call. We can schedule a cleaning or checkup for you as well.