Tooth decay refers to a dental condition in which bacteria infiltrate weakened tooth enamel and eat away at the structure of your teeth. You might have gotten a cavity, an early stage of decay, which a dentist can treat easily. But decay can advance and cause severe dental damage without intervention from your dentist.
To preserve your dental structure, you can seek preventative dental care at your dentist’s office. But certain behaviors could heighten the risk of forming decay in your smile. Read on to discover three oral habits you might indulge in that could put you in danger of tooth decay.
3 Habits That Can Heighten Your Risk for Tooth Decay
Consumption of Acidic and Sugary Food Items
Perhaps unsurprisingly, your diet can majorly affect your dental health. Acidic foods and drinks, like citrus fruits and juices, can erode your tooth enamel as you consume them. This leaves your teeth at risk of bacterial infections and tooth decay.
Sugar reacts with saliva to become acidic when you eat it, which can also hurt your teeth. Try to limit acidic and sugary food items from your diet to preserve your smile. If you keep a log of the foods you consume, you can get a good idea of which items pose a risk to your smile.
Consider keeping alternative snacks on hand that you can grab when you crave something sweet. Foods that are good for your teeth include yogurt, apples, and cucumbers. Drink water too to help rinse lingering residues from your teeth, which can reduce the likelihood of forming harmful plaque on your smile.
If you smoke cigarettes or otherwise use tobacco products, you will bring nicotine into your body. This toxic material can cause a number of health problems, and it will also reduce the amount of saliva you produce, which can give you dry mouth.
A dry oral environment allows your mouth’s natural bacteria to spread with greater ease. This can heighten your risk for oral infections and therefore tooth decay.
You should stop smoking and other behaviors that cause dry mouth to preserve your dental health. Ask your dentist for assistance in encouraging healthy oral habits that will provide long-term benefits for your smile.
Chronic Teeth Grinding
Many people have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth. Though common, this chronic behavior can cause a great deal of damage to your smile. The grating of the top teeth against the bottom ones will wear down the tooth enamel over time.
This makes it easier for bacteria to affect the tooth and cause decay. A dentist can treat a cavity with a dental filling and even get rid of more severe decay, finishing the treatment with a dental crown. But ideally, you should preserve your natural dental structure.
Your dentist can determine the cause of your teeth-grinding habit and offer treatment accordingly. With this excess pressure on your smile relieved, you can reduce your risk of tooth decay along with many other dental dangers.