Tooth Decay — How To Assess Your Risk
Don’t Wait For Cavities — Stop Them Before They Start!
Risk Factors are those associated with an increased chance of disease or infection. They may be linked to a disease, but do not necessarily cause it.
- Visible plaque that you can see, means there’s a lot of it. And if your mouth is acidic, your plaque (biofilm) is especially prone to contain decay producing (acidogenic) bacteria.
- Inadequate saliva flow leads to dry mouth or if the ability of your saliva to neutralize acid is diminished, protection against decay is seriously compromised.
- Many medications can cause mouth dryness and in addition, diseases that result in lack of saliva result in diminished ability to neutralize acid. Both significantly increase the risk of decay.
- Frequent snacking, eating sugars, refined carbohydrates, and acidic foods actually promote acid producing “BAD” bacteria.
- Appliances: Retainers, orthodontic appliances, and bite or night guards all tend to restrict saliva flow over the teeth causing stagnation and promotion of bacterial plaque (biofilm).
- Deep “pits and fissures,” the shapes of teeth vary from person to person; your genetic make-up controls how deep the tiny grooves (fissures) and pits are on your tooth surfaces. The deeper they are, the more likely they are to harbor bacteria.
- Acidic beverages or foods not only increase the growth of acid loving (aciduric) bacteria, but they can also cause erosion of enamel.
- Other conditions, like bulimia and anorexia (psychological states in which individuals induce vomiting), and Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can create highly acidic conditions in the mouth causing severe erosive damage to teeth.