Why Do I Keep Getting Cavities?

Cardiology is the study and science of why we get cavities. There are five main contributing factors to cariology: saliva, diet, bacteria or plaque, genetics, and pH. The development of cavities really is a conflict with acid. As we understand how acid influences the mouth, we can adapt to prevent cavities.

Saliva is nature’s buffer to acid. Many of the foods and beverages we eat and drink are acidic or are easily fermentable by plaque which drops the mouth pH. It takes about 60 minutes for saliva to neutralize an acidic attack. The development of cavities comes when we eat or drink repeatedly before saliva has a chance to neutralize the acid.

When the pH in the mouth stays low it influences the bacteria and can convert non-acid-producing bacteria into acid-producing bacteria which maintains the pH at a dangerous level for our teeth. Although we may have good dental hygiene and very little visible plaque on our teeth, low pH maintained by the food we eat and bacterial acid over time increases the risk of a cavity forming.

A lack of saliva is extremely problematic and extra care is required to maintain healthy teeth and gums. This problem could be genetic or caused by medications. If medication is causing dry mouth, then you may want to speak to your physician and see if there is an alternative medication that could be used. Many genetic factors can be dealt with using a preventive approach. Stay tuned for the next post to learn about simple solutions to prevent cavities!