When natural oral bacteria infiltrate weak tooth enamel and eat away at your dental structure, you have a condition known as tooth decay. Many people get cavities, early forms of tooth decay, which a dentist can treat with relative ease. But decay will advance and worsen, leaving extensive dental damage, without prompt treatment from your dentist.
You can prevent tooth decay and preserve your smile with healthy oral habits. But certain other behaviors could also increase the likelihood of dental harm. Read on to find three habits that may put your teeth at a higher risk of forming decay.
3 Behaviors That Heighten Risk of Tooth Decay
Consuming Acidic Food Items
Your diet can play a major role in your oral health. Acidic foods and drinks, like citrus fruits or juices, can erode your dental structure over time as you consume them. Once gone, your enamel does not regenerate, and this could leave your teeth weak and in danger of cavities and other problems.
Sugar becomes acidic when it reacts with your saliva, so it will pose a similar risk to your dental health. So dentists ask their patients to limit these foods in their diet to preserve their tooth structure.
Consider keeping alternative snacks on hand that you can reach for if you crave something sweet. Foods that are good for your teeth include apples, yogurt, and cucumbers. Drinking water will rinse lingering residues from your teeth too to reduce your risk of tooth decay.
Using Tobacco Products
If you smoke cigarettes or other tobacco products, you introduce many toxins into the body that create health risks. One of these, nicotine, can reduce the amount of saliva you produce, which can give you dry mouth.
A dry oral environment allows bacteria to spread with greater ease across your teeth. This means you have a higher likelihood of oral infections or tooth decay. So stop using tobacco and engaging in other habits that can cause dry mouth to protect your smile. Ask your dentist for advice in quitting this habit if you need it.
Grinding Your Teeth
Though grinding or clenching your teeth might be a common habit, it can cause a number of dental problems, especially when it occurs on a chronic basis. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom teeth can wear down your tooth enamel permanently.
This puts you at a greater risk of tooth decay. While a dentist can treat a cavity within one appointment, you should preserve the natural structure of your smile as much as possible. So you should seek treatment from your dentist for frequent clenching or grinding of teeth.
Your dentist can pinpoint the cause of this habit and offer treatment accordingly. With this preventative dental care, you can see a decrease in your chances of forming serious dental problems. Teeth grinding can lead to other issues too, so you can see improved health in your jaw and gums as well.