Are You at High Risk of Decay?

Thursday, 19 October 2023
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It’s no secret that you may be more susceptible to developing cavities in your teeth if you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily. Many people don’t know that there are other factors that can bring trouble to your mouth.

Risk of Decay

Here are a few factors to consider that can lead to more decay.

Did you know that not every mouth is created equal? Each one of us has a different kind and combination of bacteria in our mouth at any given time, which is partially thanks to genetics. Genetics are also responsible for giving some of us deep grooves and pits in our teeth, which can be a perfect trap for decay as these are perfect for trapping plaque and food.

Medications and Supplements
With some medications and supplements, often comes a decrease in quality and quantity of saliva. This doesn’t sound like much of a problem unless you’ve personally experienced dry mouth. If you have, you’ll know that swallowing food and speaking become difficult. Reduction in the quantity and quality of saliva causes a great increase in the rate and severity of dental disease. While taking these medications and supplements, it’s critical to continue to care properly for your teeth and be aware of limiting sugary sweets to help keep tooth trouble at bay.

Exercise habits
People that exercise for hours at a time are at a higher chance of dehydration. Adequate hydration is essential to produce saliva. Dehydration will decrease the quality and quantity of saliva, and this often leads to an increase in rate and severity of decay. The risk of dental disease increases further if you rehydrate with sports drinks such as Powerade. Water is best.

Eating disorders
Some eating disorders involve eating unhealthy foods, often high in sugars and starch. Some eating disorders can lead to purging, which ultimately damages tooth enamel. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, we’d love to direct you to resources that can help you overcome it and thrive.

Alcohol can lead to dry mouth and can wear away enamel due to its high acidity. To decrease dental disease risk, consume alcohol through a straw wherever possible and follow with a drink of water. Avoid carbonated drinks as a mixer.

Smoking and Other Lifestyle Habits 
Lifestyle Factors Can impact your risk factors for Dental Diseases and sometimes result in more aggressive dental decays or gum problems. There is no judgement regarding lifestyle factors, your dental team only wants to have the entire story of your health history so that they can assist you to avoid dental disease, no matter what the circumstances. You should advise us of your smoking/vaping status and history as well as your alcohol and illicit drug use status and history. Smoking. Even one cigarette each day can have harmful effects on your oral health. Smoking aids in the development of bacteria and tartar in your mouth, which may result in tooth decay and cavities. For our patients that smoke that have a high risk of decay, we sometimes suggest additional oral care products to reduce their risk of dental disease.

If you have transitioned into working from home or retirement, this sometimes comes with more free time to do the things you enjoy, including unlimited access to the fridge and pantry. Be careful of snacks as a prolonged period exposing your teeth to food and drinks will increase your risk of decay. Foods and drinks high in sugars and acids dramatically increase the chances of developing a decay. Drinks with wedges of lemon or lime added, and yummy vinegarette dressings can lead to erosion of enamel and an increase in wear which is permanent. Ideally, acidic foods should be eaten while sipping a glass of water, which will dilute the acidity and rinse the teeth clean. Acidic drinks should be consumed though a straw within a limited timeframe, rather than over several hours, which extends the acid attack on enamel. If possible, have a glass of water after any acidic drink to rinse the mouth clean.

If you think you have a cavity, schedule a visit with us. It’s best to identify and treat it as quickly as possible!