As a parent, finding ways to save money is always appreciated, especially when it comes to trips to the dentist. Most dentists agree that the best way to prevent cavities, aside from proper hygiene techniques and good genetics, is to understand the reasons behind tooth decay. Once you realize why something happens, you’re better able, and generally more willing, to take preventative measures.
So which teeth tend to get more cavities, and why? If there are more susceptible teeth, is there a way to take special care of them? Learning the simple solutions to prevent specific tooth decay will help cut back on dental costs as well as add to your knowledge of general dentistry.
Whose Teeth Are Affected?
The unfortunate truth is that tooth decay can happen to anybody at any time. As far as which teeth are specifically affected, it depends on the person. Factors like genetics, diet, and age all contribute to the likelihood of getting a cavity.
Although there might be many factors determining your susceptibility, it’s important to learn about which of your teeth are exposed to bacteria the most often. Regardless of your genetics or tooth strength, knowing common problem teeth will help you take the necessary measures to prevent cavities.
Let’s discuss common trends of decay in specific teeth with respect to different age groups. In addition to these common trends, we’ll give you some suggestions on how to prevent the decay, including specific techniques and services provided by our office.
Infants and Toddlers
For very young children, and many infants, baby-bottle tooth decay is the most common cause of cavities. Unlike adult decay, this type of deterioration happens most often in the upper front teeth. This is due to that fact that these teeth are usually used when drinking out of a bottle or toddler cup. When babies are allowed a nightly bottle, they doze off with sugary liquid dripping onto their teeth. This process exposes their teeth to cavity-causing sugars and bacteria over a long period of time.
Another way in which youngsters get baby-bottle decay is when they are sipping from a cup of sweet juice or milk throughout the day. For both adults and toddlers, sipping a drink other than water greatly increases your teeth’s exposure to sugars and bacteria. When it comes to tooth protection, think about the time period in which your teeth are exposed. If it is longer than a normal meal or a quick snack, you’re increasing your exposure to cavities.
Teens and Adolescents
Aside from the practice of getting protective sealants on a young person’s teeth, the best way to prevent cavities in the teen years is a consistent dental hygiene routine. This should include brushing twice daily, using fluoride-treated toothpaste, flossing every day, and using a good mouth rinse to kill bacteria.
For teens and other age groups, the most vulnerable teeth to cavities and decay are those in the back of your mouth. Known as molars or premolars, this category includes wisdom teeth—if you keep them in, that is. The reason for molars’ vulnerability to decay is because of their design, which includes numerous bumps and valleys, as well as being difficult to access when brushing.
Molars and premolars have numerous pits and fissures that are great for grinding food, but also attract bacteria and leftover food bits. It’s difficult to brush every nook and cranny, so these teeth are the ones that most often develop cavities and other problems.
Adults and Seniors
By the time patients reach adulthood, it’s sometimes too late to take extra care in brushing these back molar teeth, so restorative treatments often become necessary. Fillings are a good way to stop a cavity’s growth and protect from further decay.
On the other hand, some adults have several fillings in one tooth, weakening its resistance to bacteria and damage. A viable solution for this situation is getting a crown in order to protect and strengthen the tooth. Ideally, a crown covers the tooth from contaminants and bacteria so that a root canal can be avoided.
Basic Prevention Is Key
For kids, starting basic hygiene practices is vital. Help your kids keep all their beautiful teeth by instilling in them healthy brushing habits early in life. Remind them to include their back teeth while brushing. When it comes to preventative measures, there’s no comparison to a healthy and consistent tooth care routine.
No matter your age, your dentist can also greatly aid your cavity prevention campaign. This means you should come in for semi-annual checkups, x-rays, and thorough cleanings. You may brush well and often, but only your dentist will be able to identify problem areas and cavities.
Professional techniques to prevent cavities go a long way to both keeping your mouth healthy and giving you peace of mind. Make sure you’re taking the proper measures to protect you and your family’s teeth by encouraging good brushing habits, flossing, and keeping your scheduled visits.