What are the main causes of tooth decay?
Tooth decay is a common problem that affects people of all ages. It occurs when the protective layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, starts to break down. This can lead to cavities, which can be painful and may require dental treatment. There are several factors that can contribute to tooth decay, including:
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria break down the sugars in food and drinks into acids that attack the outer layer of your teeth called enamel.
As the enamel breaks down, it begins to wear away and a hole, or cavity, can form. Cavities can occur anywhere on your tooth, but they are most common in the back teeth.
Eating a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods can help prevent tooth decay. These foods have a high fibre content that promotes saliva flow, which helps remove food particles and neutralize acids before they can attack your teeth.
Limiting sugary snacks between meals can also lower your risk of tooth decay. Try to stick with fruit, nuts and crunchy vegetables like carrots, celery and apples as snacks between larger meals instead of sugary biscuits or a cup of tea.
Avoid acidic foods and drinks such as soda, citrus fruits, sports and energy drinks that erode your teeth over time. They drop the mouth’s pH level, causing a reduction in minerals that strengthen your teeth and reduce your risk of decay.
In addition to poor eating habits, anxiety and stress can contribute to bad oral health. People with high levels of stress may be more likely to have more dental caries or gum disease, a higher rate of tooth loss and a greater risk of developing periodontal disease (gum disease that can lead to tooth loss).
Poor Oral Hygiene
Tooth decay is a very common dental problem that affects both adults and children. It is caused by a bacteria that makes a sticky substance in your mouth called plaque. When this bacteria eats the hard outer coating of your teeth called enamel, it creates holes in the teeth.
Bad oral hygiene can also lead to gum disease which is a painful and serious dental condition. If left untreated, this condition can cause severe bleeding and swollen gums.
In extreme cases, it can lead to tooth loss and bone deterioration. Gum disease can also contribute to the development of other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and respiratory illness.
Good oral hygiene can be achieved by brushing and flossing twice a day, limiting sugary foods and drinks and seeking regular preventive dental care. This can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease and will save you money in the long run!
Excessive Sugar Consumption
When you eat sugar, bacteria in your mouth feed on it and produce acid that weakens and destroys teeth. This process is called glycation.
Excessive consumption of foods and drinks containing added sugars (i.e., those not naturally occurring in grains, fruits, and vegetables) increases a person’s risk of tooth decay. This can be due to the fact that these sugars are often present in high concentrations, making them more difficult for saliva to break down.
The World Health Organization recommends that people consume no more than 10% of their daily energy intake from dietary sources of free sugars, including those in foods and drinks marketed as a source of sugar. Studies have shown that children who consumed less than 10% of their total daily energy from sugars had significantly lower levels of tooth decay than those who ate more than this amount.
Stress can make teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay. The main reason is that stress causes the body to release cortisol and adrenaline hormones. These help prepare the body for a fight-or-flight response.
These hormones increase sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream and give your brain and muscles energy. But they also cause a number of physical and mental problems, including stomach ulcers, weakening of the immune system and damage to the adrenal glands.
Chronic stress is a much more serious problem, as it can go on for weeks or months. It can be triggered by money problems, a break-up or an unhappy family situation.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to brush and floss your teeth two times a day. Flossing helps to remove plaque and food particles that are stuck between your teeth, areas an ordinary toothbrush cannot reach.