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    Tooth Decay- How to Assess Your Risk

    Preventative Dentistry

    Preventative dentistry can help keep your risk of tooth decay to a minimum, but some people are simply more prone to developing cavities than others. This can depend on a number of different factors, and while some of these can be controlled, others can’t.

    One risk factor for tooth decay that is easily controlled is dental hygiene. Failing to brush and floss your teeth regularly will allow the bacteria to build up on your teeth and gums, increasing the acidity in your mouth and increasing your risk of tooth decay. The risk for tooth decay is also higher for people who don’t visit their general dentist at regular intervals for checkups and professional cleanings. Professional cleaning is essential for removing hardened plaque bacteria that if left in place will continue to attack the surfaces of your teeth and gums.

    Some people have a more acidic diet than others, or choose to eat lots of foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugars. If this applies to you then you are increasing your risk of tooth decay, especially if you like to snack frequently as your mouth will continually be exposed to acids.

    If you are a smoker then your tooth decay risk increases, as nicotine makes it easier for bacteria to stick to the teeth.

    These are all factors that can be controlled to a certain extent, but other factors may be beyond control. Even so it is still possible to take action to help limit these risks through making sure you have a meticulous dental care regime at home combined with great professional dental care.

    People with Medical Conditions are More at Risk

    People with certain medical conditions are more at risk of developing tooth decay. Conditions such as diabetes and Sjögren’s syndrome increase the risk of cavities. This is because people with these conditions may have dry mouth where insufficient saliva is produced to help wash away bacteria. Diabetics are also more at risk because the condition compromises the immune system and makes it more difficult for them to fight back against any bacterial infection.

    Having certain respiratory ailments that cause you to breathe through your mouth can also increase the risk of tooth decay as your mouth will be drier than normal. Some medications can cause dry mouth, in particular prescription drugs for depression and high blood pressure.

    Younger people are more likely to develop tooth decay than older people. This is due to the minerals in the teeth being less stable and more susceptible towards acid damage. Older people may develop cavities as their gums are more likely to recede, exposing the roots that are covered in a much softer material called cementum. This is easily worn away, exposing the even softer layer of dentin.

    Tooth enamel restoration procedures can help reduce the risk of tooth decay, and if you have dry mouth then it’s possible to buy over-the-counter saliva substitutes. Other things that can help include sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugar-free gum to help stimulate the flow of saliva.

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