Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, is primarily caused by a combination of factors involving bacteria, a sugary or carbohydrate-rich diet, and poor oral hygiene. Here are the key factors that contribute to tooth decay:
- Dental Plaque: Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates present in the foods and beverages we consume. As the bacteria consume these sugars, they produce acids that can erode tooth enamel, leading to tooth decay.
- Sugary and Acidic Foods: Consuming a diet high in sugary and acidic foods and beverages contributes to tooth decay. Sugars, especially refined sugars, are easily consumed by oral bacteria, promoting their growth and acid production. Acidic foods and drinks can directly erode tooth enamel, making teeth more vulnerable to decay.
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing allow plaque to accumulate on the teeth, providing an environment for bacteria to thrive. The longer plaque remains on the teeth, the more opportunity bacteria have to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel, leading to decay.
- Dry Mouth: Saliva plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health by neutralizing acids and rinsing away food particles and bacteria. A dry mouth condition, known as xerostomia, reduces the protective effect of saliva, increasing the risk of tooth decay
- Acid Reflux and Gastrointestinal Issues: Conditions such as acid reflux and frequent vomiting expose the teeth to stomach acids, which are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time.
- Genetics: Some individuals may have genetic factors that make them more susceptible to tooth decay. These factors can affect the strength and composition of tooth enamel or the production of saliva, making teeth more prone to decay.
- Inadequate Fluoride Exposure: Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and protect against acid attacks. Insufficient fluoride exposure, whether from drinking water, toothpaste, or dental treatments, can increase the risk of tooth decay.
It’s important to note that tooth decay is a preventable condition. Maintaining good oral hygiene practices, following a balanced diet low in sugary and acidic foods, attending regular dental check-ups, and using fluoride-based oral care products can help prevent
tooth decay and promote oral health. Please view our oral hygiene instruction page and oral health product document for further instructions on maintaining good oral hygiene