Tooth decay is a process that happens when acidic waste products created by oral bacteria cause damage to the hard tissues of a tooth called enamel. If this process remains unchecked, a point can be reached where enough enamel is finally lost that hole or a cavity forms on the tooth.
Here are 10 lifestyles or risk factors that will increase your chances of getting tooth decay.
Lack of proper oral hygiene
Brushing only once a day, especially if morning only, is a large risk factor in getting tooth decay. If you don’t clean your teeth after eating and drinking, plaque builds up, eroding your teeth.
Plaque is a soft, sticky, and colorless deposit that is continually forming on our teeth and gums. Often undetected, plaque attacks the teeth and gums with the acid it produces from bacteria in your mouth. This acid attack breaks down the tooth’s enamel, causing tooth sensitivity and ending with varying degrees of tooth decay
Crowded or rotated teeth are harder to clean and properly remove plaque. This causes cavities or tooth decay.
Eating and drinking substances high in sugar or fruit juice
Foods that are high in sugar easily cling to your teeth and are harder to brush off. The sugars also increase and feed the bacteria that is responsible for creating the decay.
Frequent snacking or sipping throughout the day
If you frequently snack or sip sodas, acid has more time to attack your teeth and wear them down allowing teeth to be worn down into softer dentin due to bruxism or malocclusion.
Eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia can lead to significant tooth decay. Stomach acid from vomiting washes over the teeth and erodes the enamel. As the enamel erodes your teeth are less protected and more subject the the effects of plaque and cavity causing bacteria.
Periodontal disease is known as receding gums. When your gums pull away from your teeth, plaque can form on the roots of your teeth. The underlying dentin is softer than enamel and can become decayed more easily.
Xerostomia or dry mouth
Dry mouth or Xerostomia is caused by a lack of saliva. Saliva has an important role in preventing tooth decay in that it washes away food and plaque from your teeth.
A common cancer treatment is radiation. Getting radiation treatments to your head or neck can change the saliva produced in the mouth, which allows more cavity-producing bacteria to thrive.
Broken down fillings or restorations
Over the years, dental fillings can become weak and begin to breakdown. This can create places that harbor bacteria and increased plaque.
Fluoride is often added to public water supplies. This has helped decrease tooth decay by offering protective minerals for tooth enamel. But today, many people drink bottled or filtered water that doesn’t contain fluoride.
Having healthy, strong teeth is important. Consider which of these common lifestyles are proving detrimental to your overall oral health and take positive steps to eliminate them.