Can People Be Immune to Cavities?

How Cavities Form

The story of how cavities form is fairly well-known, as they’re common. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth or miss spots when you do so, those spots can become prone to decay. When you clean your teeth, you scrape off plaque and tartar.

Bacteria that feed on plaque become attracted to your teeth. The longer the bacteria is allowed to go on, the more of your tooth will be eaten away. The hole that this bacteria leaves behind is a cavity.

The Bacteria That Cause Tooth Decay

People aren’t born with the form of bacteria that causes tooth decay--it’s actually an infectious disease that can be caught from others. It can be contracted from sharing a straw with your parents or kissing someone who has the bacteria.

You can contract this bacteria at any time, but there’s no getting rid of it. Even if you’re an adult who’s never had a cavity, you could catch the bacteria and start getting cavities. 

This bacteria is called streptococcus mutans, and though it isn’t the only type of bacteria that contributes to decay, it’s the most common due to how easily it can be spread.

Susceptibility to Cavities

Other than getting streptococcus mutans and other bacteria, there are more factors that can determine whether you’re more at risk for cavities. Even some people with this decay-causing bacterium don’t get cavities very often.

Recent studies have shown that your genetics do play a factor in how susceptible you are to developing cavities. It’s possible for someone to develop cavities quicker or their decay may advance at a faster rate than others.

Variations of one gene, beta-defensin 1, can also mean a higher risk of cavities. Beta-defensins play a major role in the defense of your teeth against decay, so if they’re weaker they can’t defend your teeth as well.

Your diet is a major part of how healthy your teeth are. Consuming more sugary foods and drinks can create an environment that bacteria thrive in. Reducing the amount of sugar in your diet can help to prevent cavities. 

Your saliva is of vital importance to your oral health because it helps to wash away food debris and to keep your teeth clean. If you’re taking medications that hinder your saliva production, you could be at an increased risk of developing cavities.

Daily oral hygiene is the biggest defense you have against cavities. Clearing plaque off of your teeth regularly keeps bacteria from being able to feed on it, protecting your teeth.

How to Prevent Cavities

It’s possible you may not be able to get cavities if you never contracted the bacteria, though you may not get cavities even if you have. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect your oral health. If you don’t know with certainty that you can’t develop cavities, keeping up with oral hygiene is key.

Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes clears away most of the plaque and food remains on your teeth. Flossing every day can remove debris from between your teeth and places that it gets stuck. 

Your dentist can help you develop an oral hygiene regimen and make recommendations for a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss that suits you. When you come in for cleanings, we can also clean those hard-to-reach places and make sure your teeth are clear of plaque. 

To schedule your appointment, call our office at 949-673-7820 or fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll get right back to you.

Author
Dr. Alfano

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