Are They Worth the Risk?
The average American diet runs high in refined or simple carbohydrates and sugars. It’s also a fact that tooth decay and gum disease affect over 90% of children and adults in the United States. Not everyone is harmed in the same way, or to the same extent. For example, 5% of U.S. adults aged 20 to 64 have no teeth at all! And then there are those that have no cavities whatsoever. In some cases this is due to differences in their oral biome (the bacteria that live in the mouth). In others, it’s due to differences in their oral hygiene. And some were exposed to sufficient fluoride in their youth to create strong permanent teeth that resist decay. The point is, diet plays a large role in what happens to your teeth, but there are additional things you can do to lower your risk of tooth decay.
Risk Factors for Tooth Decay
There are several things that increase the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. Here are some examples:
Cavities – The more cavities you’ve had, the greater your risk to get additional cavities. Prevent the first and you may not see the second, or the third, fourth, and so on.
Salivary Flow – Saliva fills multiple roles for your health and the protection of your teeth. It softens food to ease chewing and digestion, and it assists in reinforcing your enamel. Low salivary flow makes your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
Poor hygiene habits – Brushing too hard scrapes away protective enamel, creating a weak spot in your primary defense against bacteria. Brushing too little allows more bacteria to stay in place, continuing their attack on tooth enamel. Find the right balance by brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. For most people, this means once in the morning and once before bed. Brushing after additional meals, like lunch, is also acceptable.
Braces – Orthodontics are a good thing, but they lead some patients to neglect or even avoid brushing their teeth. The dentists and hygienists at the Yuba City Dentistry Group will show you how to properly brush your teeth when you have braces, so you don’t lose teeth simply because you’re repositioning them. That would waste your investment in straightening your smile.
Eating habits – Constant snacking creates a continuous food source for the bacteria in your mouth, allowing them to do more damage between brushing sessions. If you must snack (to overcome a smoking habit, for example), eat complex carbohydrates like vegetables, nuts or fruits and drink plenty of water. Avoid candy, sodas, sweet teas, and dessert foods made with refined carbs and lots of sugar.
If you have trouble with tooth decay, other factors may be involved. Discuss your family history with cavities, gum disease and tooth loss with our dentist. Our hygienists and dentist can also help you zero in on oral hygiene or dietary habits that may be causing harmful bacteria to blossom.
Lowering the Risk of Oral Disease
The best thing you can do to lower your risk for tooth decay and gum disease is to maintain a good routine in oral hygiene. That includes:
- Brushing your teeth and the soft tissues of your mouth regularly;
- Flossing between your teeth and gums daily;
- Using mouthwash to kill bacteria and rinse your teeth with fluoride if tooth decay is an issue in your family or your life;
- Visit your dentist at least two times per year.
- Eat a healthy diet and include exercise in your daily routine to improve blood flow to all parts of your body.
- Avoid tobacco and nicotine products of all kinds.
To make sure your routine in oral hygiene is the best it can be, contact the Yuba City Dentistry Group by phone or on our website. Our dentist can help you reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease to a bare minimum!