What Causes Tooth Decay?

What Causes Tooth Decay?

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Tooth decay is a very common problem that many people deal with. It can lead to tooth loss, affect the way your smile looks, and be a confidence killer. One of the most serious problems tooth decay leads to is the development of cavities (or holes) in your teeth. These holes will continue to grow, and you run the risk of losing your teeth if they are left untreated. Tooth decay and cavities are very common dental problems that people seek treatment for.   

Fortunately, tooth decay is highly preventable, and you can take steps to prevent it. To understand how to prevent tooth decay, we must first understand what causes it. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of tooth decay.

Causes of Tooth Decay

There are several factors that can cause tooth decay. Fortunately, you can control a lot of these factors and greatly reduce your risk. Some of the biggest factors of tooth decay include:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene Habits – Not brushing well enough or long enough can lead to tooth decay. The longer food particles and bacteria sit on the surface of your teeth, the higher risk you have of tooth decay. The best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities is to have a consistent and strong oral hygiene plan that includes (at the very least): brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, using a good mouthwash once a day, and regularly getting your teeth cleaned and checked out by a dentist.
  • Unhealthy Eating and Drinking – There are a lot of foods and drinks that increase your risk of tooth decay. They include foods and drink high in sugar and acids. These elements increase the breakdown of tooth enamel. If you do consume such foods and drinks, rinsing or brushing your teeth after consumption greatly reduces the effects they can have on your teeth. Some other easy tips include using a straw when drinking soft drinks to reduce the drink’s contact with teeth and brushing and flossing immediately after eating foods that are likely to get stuck in between teeth, such as sticky candies and popcorn.
  • Plaque Buildup – Plaque formation is caused by bacteria and food particle buildup on the teeth. This can develop because of poor brushing habits and lack of flossing. Plaque has acid in it that attacks tooth enamel which leads to tooth decay. It’s crucial to remove all plaque from your teeth by brushing and flossing properly. These steps will prevent plaque from leading to tooth decay and cavities.
  • Medical Problems – There are some medical conditions and treatments that weaken tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Some examples include bulimia and some types of cancer treatments. For people with such issues, it’s crucial to have good oral hygiene practices in place and regular visits to the dentist to ensure every effort is made to reduce tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Prevention and Treatment in Eugene, Oregon

The best way to ensure you are taking all the right steps to prevent tooth decay is having a trustworthy and experienced dental team to guide you. The experts at 360 Dental can help enhance your dental health. We provide the full spectrum of dental services from cleanings to tooth extractions.

Our dental care team believes in comprehensive dental care, and we put our patients on the right track to better oral health. To make an appointment, please call (541) 689-1645 or request an appointment now.