Although genetics definitely plays a role, much of the time cavities are associated with a diet high in sugary or starchy snacks, sometimes combined with poor oral hygiene.
Every time someone eats, acid is produced inside the mouth as bacteria digest the sugars contained in the food.. The sugars can come from obvious sweets such as cake, cookies, and candy, but also from the breakdown of starchy snacks such as chips or crackers. This acid production begins within two minutes of our eating the sugar or starch, and lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment begins to weaken the outer surfaces of the teeth, eventually leading to cavities if sugars and starches are frequently consumed. That is why it is so important to focus on eating healthy snacks such as fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese and nuts.
Some tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit the frequency of snacks, and choose nutritious snacks.
- Avoid frequent drinking of soda, juice, or sports drinks. Water is always best!
- Avoid sticky foods such as dried fruits, chips and crackers.
- Make treats part of meals, because the volume of saliva generated during a meal helps dilute the acid that is produced.
- Whenever possible brush after a snack, or rinse with water.