Anyone can get tooth cavities and decay, but some people are more vulnerable than others. An increased bacteria population in the oral cavity is the leading cause of decay and cavities. Bacteria will release acids as they feed on food debris and sugars in the mouth. The acids wash away the teeth' protective layers or enamels. The acids cause tooth decay, which, in turn, leads to cavities or holes in the teeth. It is crucial that you get strict with your oral hygiene and make trips to the dentist frequently for dental cleanings and oral inspections. So, what are the risk factors for tooth decay?
Kids are more susceptible to having cavities, but adults are also as much at risk. Aging causes our teeth to wear down since the enamel becomes thinner and weaker. Age also causes the gums to recede, exposing parts of the roots. The cementum or part that protects the root is not as hard or strong as the enamel. As such, it is more susceptible to decay.
When your mouth becomes dry, it allows plaque and acids to linger around and sit on the teeth. Your teeth bank on saliva to cleanse cavity-causing bacteria. Many prescriptions indicate dry mouth as a side effect. It is not only uncomfortable but also damaging to the smile. Some medical conditions and certain chemotherapy drugs contribute to reduced saliva production, putting you at risk for decay and cavities.
Defective Fillings and Dental Devices
When existing dental fillings wear down or develop rough edges, they allow plaque to build up, making it hard to eliminate with daily brushing. The oral prosthesis may degrade over time, leading to decay underneath them.
Though enamel is considered the hardest substance in our bodies, it is only able to take so much acid. If you experience gastroesophageal reflux disease or heartburn, the acid pushing back to the mouth wears away the enamel.
If you have these risk factors for decay, it is crucial that you adhere to your daily brushing and flossing regime. You also should see our dentist frequently for checks and cleanings.