Growing up, we learned a lot of important lessons on how to maintain proper oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay. These lessons taught us that failing to brush our teeth regularly, eating high sugary foods, and other carbohydrates can cause tooth decay. However, most of us failed to address the most obvious causes of tooth decay.
Tooth Decay Comes From The Destruction Of Tooth Enamel
To understand the cause of tooth decay, you have to understand that it is the result of the destruction of our teeth enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of our teeth. It is a chain reaction that starts when we eat or drink foods that contain bacteria that use sugars in the food to make acids. Later, these acids can create cavities in our teeth. And if left untreated, those teeth might become severely decayed.
Below are six factors that increase your chances of having tooth decay that you probably didn’t know already.
1. Dry Mouth
When the mouth lacks saliva, harmful germs such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi will stay in it and cause cavities. However, having a dry mouth should not make you anxious. There are self-care steps that can help improve a dry mouth, such as chewing sugarless gum, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding cigarettes and alcohol.
2. Vigorous Teeth Brushing
More often than not, most of us have the habit of brushing our teeth vigorously with the thought that the harder you do it, the cleaner your teeth will be. Well, this is a very poor habit which you should stop immediately. Toothbrush misuse has a high chance of causing damage to your teeth, according to a published dental study by Dr. Thomas Abrahamsen in the International Dental Journal.
Often, patients who have over-brushed their teeth complain of sensitive teeth. What you should do is simply brushing gently by applying less pressure with circular strokes on gums and invest in a soft-bristled toothbrush.
3. Not Getting Enough Fluoride
Did you know one of the benefits of drinking water is making your teeth enamel stronger due to the fluoride content it has? Fluoride helps to prevent your teeth from decay by making them more resistant to acid attacks from sugars and plaque bacteria in the mouth.
When you use fluoride regularly, it can reduce the number of cavities you might develop in your teeth. Therefore, according to Fluoride Information Network, drinking tap water with fluoride treatment and using fluoride toothpaste can reduce tooth decay.
4. High Acidic Foods Intake
At times, you might have felt tooth sensitivity, especially when you eat or drink something that is very cold or hot. Sensitivity is typically due to exposing the teeth to high levels of acidic foods. Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that results from the irritation of nerves in your teeth. Eating highly acidic foods leads to enamel damage, which exposes the inner layer of your teeth, exposing the nerve center, and leading to painful tooth sensitivity.
What you should do is avoid eating high acidic foods, such as lemons, tomatoes, pickles, alcohol, coffee, etc. Instead, you should eat foods that are low in acid, such as bananas, lean meat, avocados, whole grains, broccoli, eggs, vegetables etc.
5. Drinking Alcohol At Night
During the night when you sleep, there is less saliva production, since your mouth is inactive. This state will make it more difficult for your mouth to wash away acids and bacteria naturally. The result, as you may already know, is that chances of tooth decay are likely to increase when you drink alcohol at night.
Therefore, you should avoid drinking alcohol at night. If you are unable to control yourself and limit your nightly alcohol intake, drink alcohol moderately as you sip water at the same time.
6. Dairy Products
Eating natural dairy products is usually not harmful to your teeth because it contains calcium that make our teeth strong. However, when we combine dairy products mixed with other foods that have high sugar levels and other carbohydrates, which feed the bacteria in your mouth, then there are higher chances of developing tooth decay. Eat dairy separately and avoid eating unhealthy forms of dairy, like ice cream and frozen yogurt for example.