Tooth Decay Risk Factors You Might Not Consider
If you had to guess what percent of people will end up with cavities at some point in their lives what would you say? 50 percent? 70 percent? The answer is surprising – it’s over 90 percent. That means no matter how well you take care of your teeth there’s always the chance you’ll end up with a cavity – they’re almost unavoidable!
We take tooth decay seriously at our New Albany dentist office. Cavities can destroy teeth, cause serious pain, and leave you with expensive dental care bills that could be largely prevented. The key to knowing how to minimize your cavity risk lies in understanding what risk factors you have. With cavities being so common we want you to know how to prevent them!
Cavity Risk Factors: What’s Yours?
Like any health condition, there are things you can do to significantly increase your risks of developing it. Whether it’s gum disease, cancer, acne, or bad joints, your lifestyle and health history combine to give you a chance of pretty much anything.
When it comes to your teeth there are a lot of things you can control, but there are also some you can’t. Even when you suffer from certain unpreventable risks you can still minimize the possibilities of tooth decay. Let us help!
- Prescription drugs: there are plenty of prescriptions that have an effect on your oral health. They most often cause a dry mouth, which makes it easier for bacteria to hang around and do damage.
- Dehydration: if you don’t drink enough water you’re only helping oral bacteria destroy your teeth. Saliva is your body’s natural way of washing away acids, bacteria, and food particles. Without adequate saliva your teeth are just sitting ducks.
- Deep tooth fissures: they might appear smooth, but your teeth are covered in microscopic pits and fissures that make great spots for bacteria to cling to. You can’t control how deep these go: it’s just a matter of genetics. The depth of the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your molars can contribute as well – it’s hard to keep them clean!
- Wearing oral appliances: retainers, mouthguards, sleep apnea appliances, partial dentures, and other tools are great for relieving symptoms and preventing injuries. Unfortunately they’re also havens for oral bacteria. If you wear any oral appliances of any kind be sure you’re keeping them clean and dry when not in use.
- Acid reflux: tooth decay is caused by acid that is created when oral bacteria metabolizes sugar. Your teeth are also sensitive to other acids as well, such as the bile that escapes your stomach during an acid reflux episode. It’s important to keep GERD and other conditions under control for the sake of your teeth!
- Alcohol consumption: a lot of alcoholic beverages contain sugar, and when paired with the dehydrating effects of alcohol you have a recipe for tooth decay. Alcohol also irritates the soft tissue of your mouth, which can increase your chances of developing gum disease and recession that adds to decay risks.
- Tobacco use: smoking and other forms of tobacco use have been shown to tip the bacteria balance in your mouth. They actually cause the death of harmless strains of bacteria, which are replaced with more and more dangerous kinds. Your next sugary treat means an even stronger acid attack.
- Bacterial makeup: everyone’s oral bacterial makeup is different, and a lot of it is out of your control, barring habits like smoking. For some people this simply means a greater risk of tooth decay, which is why it’s so important to take care of your teeth!
- Inadequate oral care at home: brushing twice a day and flossing every night are fundamental parts of preventing cavities. Even if you do keep up with the habits it doesn’t mean you’re doing it right, however! If you aren’t sure about your oral care routine you need to ask us!
- Not seeing the dentist: you could be the picture of home dental care and still end up with cavities. That’s why professional care is so important! We’re able to get into the spots you can’t in order to identify and treat problems before they become serious!
Don’t Take Risks With These Factors
Just because you fall into some of the categories on this list doesn’t mean you’re going to lose your teeth. The key to a healthy smile lies in good preventive care and minimizing potential problems, which you can do at New Albany Implants.