The Truth About Tooth Decay

Are You Putting Your Smile At Risk?

the truth about tooth decayOur smiles, much like our body’s overall health, are well-oiled machines if treated with the care they deserve. While there are certain health factors that remain out of our control, we DO have reign over the everyday choices we can make to keep our smiles bright and prevent our teeth from decaying much faster than our bodies.

What many may not realize, however, is how that extra daily cup of morning coffee, or those few times we skipped on floss, may be the difference between showing off a set of spotless, pearly whites and living with thick, unpleasant build-up of bacteria that slowly dims your smile’s shine. Tooth decay can be caused by a number of factors, and it is important to be aware of how our everyday choices impact the quality of our oral health.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Let’s start with the basics: a tooth has three layers—the enamel (outer layer), the dentin (middle layer) and the pulp (inner layer). Brushing and flossing regularly are the easiest ways of ensuring these layers are kept intact. Aside from neglecting to stay on schedule with brushings and flossing, there are several other factors that we may not realize pose a threat to the safety of our teeth, such as:

  • Consuming foods/drinks that are high in sugar
    • Your mouth contains many types of bacteria that feed off of the sugars in the foods we eat, and neglecting to brush these sugars out will cause the bacteria to feed off of it and produce bacteria plaque that presents itself in the form of a sticky film that coats your teeth. In short, think about the feast you’re providing the bacteria in your mouth before deciding on that extra cup of sugary coffee or soda.
  • Heartburn/dry mouth
    • While these factors affect our overall health and can be difficult to overcome without the aid of medication, they cause great damage to our oral health nevertheless. Heartburn causes stomach acids to flow into the mouth (also known as Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD), which eats away at tooth enamel. Dry mouth is a result of lack of saliva. Saliva acts as a defense against plaque and other unpleasant build-ups in the teeth, so lack of it can land our oral health in trouble. In these cases, it is important to maintain an even stricter oral hygiene regimen to help offset these factors.
  • Smoking
    • Nicotine poses a huge threat to the health of our smiles by slowly eating away at tooth enamel, leaving a set of stained and weakened teeth in its wake.

Who is at Risk?

While tooth decay knows no age, cavities and decay are most common among children and teenagers due to sugary diets and overall neglect of oral hygiene. Older adults are still at risk, nevertheless, as the eventual wear down of teeth and gums makes teeth more vulnerable to decay. Older adults commonly use medications that reduce the flow of saliva, which further accelerates the rate of decay.

How Confident Are You in Your Smile?

There are many factors outside of the ones discussed above that can play a part in tooth decay. Above all, it is most important to visit the dentist regularly to prevent decay from forming, as well as to pinpoint the cause of tooth decay if you are already experiencing a weakening of tooth enamel. Help prevent tooth decay altogether by visiting your dentist at Acosta Dental Arts, PA. We offer an array of dental services to patients living in North Palm Beach and Juno Beach that will help maintain your oral health in the best condition. Please call 561-622-0301 to schedule your Free Smile Assessment today.

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