Cavity Culprits

At Hoard Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry in New Bern, NC, Dr. Stephen Hoard focuses on educating patients about preventing tooth decay. Understanding the risk factors for tooth decay allows patients to take proactive measures to maintain their oral health. 

Cavity Culprits

Risk Factors for Tooth Decay

Poor oral hygiene significantly contributes to tooth decay. Inadequate brushing and flossing techniques fail to remove plaque, leading to the formation of cavities. Dr. Stephen Hoard emphasizes the importance of proper brushing techniques, which involve using a fluoride toothpaste and brushing for at least two minutes twice a day. Flossing daily ensures that food particles and plaque do not accumulate between teeth.

Irregular dental check-ups also increase the risk of tooth decay. Regular visits to Hoard Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry allow for early detection of dental issues. Dr. Stephen Hoard recommends bi-annual check-ups and professional cleanings to maintain optimal oral health.


Diet plays a crucial role in the development of tooth decay. Consuming sugary and acidic foods and drinks fosters an environment where bacteria thrive. These bacteria produce acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities. Dr. Stephen Hoard advises patients to limit their intake of sugary snacks and beverages, such as candy, soda, and fruit juices.

The frequency of snacking also impacts oral health. Frequent snacking provides a constant supply of sugars for bacteria, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Opting for healthier snacks, like vegetables and cheese, can help maintain strong and healthy teeth.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, occurs when the salivary glands do not produce enough saliva. Saliva plays a vital role in neutralizing acids and washing away food particles. Certain medications and medical conditions can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Dr. Stephen Hoard encourages patients experiencing dry mouth to stay hydrated and use mouthwashes or lozenges designed to stimulate saliva production.

Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes also contribute to dry mouth. Patients with these conditions should work closely with Dr. Stephen Hoard to manage their oral health effectively.


Genetics can influence a person’s susceptibility to tooth decay. A family history of cavities may indicate a higher risk. While genetics cannot be changed, individuals can take preventive measures to mitigate their risk. Dr. Stephen Hoard suggests that patients with a family history of cavities maintain diligent oral hygiene practices and attend regular dental check-ups.

Prevention Strategies

Maintaining proper oral hygiene remains the cornerstone of preventing tooth decay. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antibacterial mouthwash can significantly reduce the risk of cavities. Dr. Stephen Hoard provides personalized oral hygiene instructions to his patients, ensuring they follow the best practices for maintaining their dental health.

Balanced Diet and Limiting Sugary Intake

A balanced diet not only benefits overall health but also plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins helps strengthen teeth and gums. Limiting sugary and acidic foods and drinks can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Regular Dental Visits

Regular dental visits are essential for early detection and prevention of tooth decay. During these visits, Dr. Stephen Hoard performs thorough examinations and professional cleanings to ensure patients maintain optimal oral health. Early intervention allows for more conservative treatments, preventing the progression of dental issues.

Use of Fluoride Products

Fluoride strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent cavities. Dr. Stephen Hoard recommends using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses as part of a daily oral hygiene routine. In some cases, he may suggest professional fluoride treatments to provide additional protection against tooth decay.