Tooth decay is the most common chronic health problem in the US. More than 95% of US adults have tooth decay, so virtually everyone will experience tooth decay at some point in their lives. However, not everyone is at the same level of risk for recurring and serious tooth decay that can lead to infected teeth and tooth loss.
To help you understand how likely you are to experience this level of decay, we invite you to use our tooth decay risk assessment.
Although our teeth don’t contain fluoride, it’s an important catalyst for the remineralization of tooth enamel. Exposing your teeth to fluoride on a regular basis helps your body fight tooth decay. Source of fluoride exposure include:
- Fluoridated water
- Fluoride treatments
- Fluoride mouthwash
- Fluoride tablets
Regular exposure to fluoride can significantly decrease your tooth decay risk.
Sugar feeds parasitic bacteria that live your mouth. These bacteria excrete acids that cause cavities. Before regular sugar consumption, tooth decay was rare, and people who consume too much sugar are more likely to have cavities.
Some health conditions can increase your risk of tooth decay. If you have physical disabilities that make it hard to brush or floss, you are at an elevated risk for tooth decay. If you experience dry mouth because of health conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome, or because of medications you take, then acids will build up in your mouth, leading to increased tooth decay risk.
Psychological conditions can also increase your risk of decay. Purging behavior related to bulimia, for example, can increase your risk of tooth decay. And chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol can prevent or reduce your ability to care for your teeth.
If you have developed cavities in the past, you are more likely to get them in the future. That’s partly because cavity history shows that you have a large number of parasitic bacteria that put your teeth at risk and partly because of lifestyle factors that contribute to your cavity risk, but might not have changed.
Teeth and Restorations
Your teeth can also contribute to your cavity risk. If some of your teeth are hard to clean because of their position and shape.
If you have receding gums, exposing your teeth roots, you are at increased risk for cavities. That’s because the tooth root material is less resistant to decay.
Dental care is supposed to protect your teeth, but it can increase your cavity risk. Some restorations might create ledges that can lead to accumulation of food and plaque. And orthodontic treatment can make it harder for you to clean your teeth, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Is Your Cavity Risk High?
If you take our assessment and are concerned about your tooth risk, preventive dental care can help reduce your risk. To schedule a preventive care visit, please call (949) 551-5902 for an appointment with an Orange County dentist at Rice Dentistry in Irvine.