Caries Risk

Caries Definition:

Dental caries are the most common oral disease known and the process of getting a dental cary is known as tooth decay. Caries occur when acids, sugars, and bacteria work together to cause demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues of the teeth (the enamel, dentin and cementum). This leads to carious lesions, or cavities. This can occur at all ages.

Top Risk Factors for Cavities:

  • Tooth location – most often occurs in back teeth due to grooves and pits in teeth
  • Certain foods and drinks that tend to stick to your teeth or change the PH make your teeth more susceptible to cavities
  • Bedtime infant feeding will remain on the teeth throughout the night and create an ideal environment for cavities.
  • Inadequate brushing – brush after eating and before bed thoroughly.
  • Not getting enough fluoride- fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage
  • Younger or older age are at the greatest risk for dental caries.
  • Dry mouth – salvia helps wash away food and plaque, without it, one has an increased risk for cavities.
  • Eating disorders
  • Heartburn
  • Worn fillings or dental devices

Home Care Instructions for patients to prevent cavities:

  • Brushing: Minimum of twice daily for 2 minutes at a time
  • Mouth rinses: Antiseptic Rinse (Listerine) twice daily AND Fluoride Rinse (ACT) before bed.
  • Flossing: 1x/day with proper technique
  • Professional dental cleaning and check ups
  • Limit surgery and acidic foods or beverages

Additional resources: