Nobody likes getting cavities, but many people tend to think that with clean teeth, they have almost no risk of getting cavities. However, if you're not taking good care of your gums, your risk of getting these troublesome problems could go up. Here's how gum disease impacts your risk of developing cavities.
Gum disease and cavities often go hand in hand because their problems are caused by the same bacteria. The bacteria that's responsible for causing gum disease also produces tartar and plaque, which increase the risk of developing cavities. So right off the bat, if your gums aren't healthy and are infested with a lot of bacteria — which they would be if you have gum disease — your risk of cavities increases.
The gums play a vital role in keeping your teeth safe. When gums are healthy, they form a tight seal around the base of each tooth. However, when you develop more advanced forms of gum disease, gum gapping starts to happen. This is where the gums open up and become looser around the tooth. When this happens, bacteria swarms into the opening and creates new bacteria while it hides there. Since it's hard to access with a toothbrush, many bacteria that otherwise would be brushed and rinsed away may survive after you've brushed your teeth. Then, after you're done, the bacteria begins to spread out again and can potentially start producing plaque that chews through teeth and causes cavities.
Accessing Enamel-Free Areas
Unfortunately, having your gums loosen up around the base of the tooth present two problems, not just one.
As you've no doubt been told by your dentist, your teeth have a hard layer of something called dental enamel on the exterior of the tooth. Enamel helps to prevent cavities and keeps foreign bacteria out. However, the entire tooth isn't actually covered in enamel. Only the parts of the tooth that are normally visible when you smile have enamel.
The rest of the tooth, which is hidden under your gums, lacks this defensive layer because the gums typically do the job for the teeth. But when the gums start gapping, it lets bacteria invade this part of the tooth too, which is primarily defenseless. As a result you can end up with cavities under the gums.
If your gums aren't healthy, chances are your teeth won't stay healthy either. Talk to a dentist and get your gum disease treated so that you're no longer at a higher risk of getting cavities.
For more information, contact dental offices such as Ramtown Dental Associates.