What causes tooth decay?

Strong scientific evidence links tooth decay and gum diseases to risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and complications of diabetes, respiratory infections, stroke, and adverse pregnancy outcomes

Good oral health can go a long way in enhancing one’s quality of life. Oral health primarily consists of health of teeth and other parts of mouth like gums, tongue etc. As one ages, usually oral health deteriorates and there can be issues like cavities and much more.

Cavity is most often caused by sweet foods and beverages. Without regular brushing and flossing, the bacteria in our mouth, known as dental plaque, convert sugars into acids. Over time, acid eats away at the surface of a tooth, attacking the enamel, weakening the tooth and causing decay in the form of holes or cavities.

Certain factors contribute to increased risk of cavities :

Dry mouth– Also known as xerostomia, a dry mouth occurs when there is lack of saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps to neutralise acid attack on your teeth. Playing active sports can increase your chances of a dry mouth if you become dehydrated because dehydration reduces saliva. If you’re playing sport, remember to drink plenty of fluoridated tap water to keep lots of saliva in your mouth

Medication– Some medications can encourage tooth decay either because they cause xerostomia or are acidic. These include chewable Vitamin C tablets, frequent use of aspirin, some iron supplements in liquid form, some cough medicines, some types of asthma medication and some anti-depressants. Never stop taking a prescribed medication without consulting with your doctor, but make sure you discuss any medications with your dentist

Smoking– Tobacco in cigarettes can damage your teeth and gums. Tooth decay and gum infections are more common in people who smoke. Smoking also reduces the amount of saliva in your mouth, which again puts your teeth at greater risk of decay. Smoking is also a risk factor for oral cancer

Adult oral health can no longer be ignored as it has wider implications on overall health

Reference:

https://www.dhsv.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/2515/links-between-oral-health-and-general-health-the-case-for-action.pdf

http://www.dentalhealthweek.com.au/2012/Static/downloads/fs_Causes-of-tooth-decay.pdf

 

Written by drpoojachhawcharia

Dr Pooja Chhawcharia is the Senior Nutritionist at eKincare with over 7 years of experience in Nutrition education, diet counseling and research. She is a Registered Dietician with the Indian Dietetic Association and Certified Diabetes Educator recognized by the International Diabetes federation . She is also interested in ancillary sciences such as Yoga and Naturopathy.

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