It is common knowledge that sweet and sugary foods cause tooth decay or cavities. But that’s not all – the causes of tooth decay can range from dry mouth to acid reflux.
When you consume sugary food, a part of the it always remains stuck to the teeth and the bacteria present in the mouth convert this sugar into acid. This acid can eat away the enamel of the teeth and such erosion is one of the most common causes of tooth decay. Based on the amount of damage done to the teeth, dentists gauge the various stages of tooth decay.
The Most Common Causes Of Tooth Decay
While you can try and avoid eating sweet food items, there are several other ways in which sugar can find its way into your mouth, leading to tooth decay.
Artificially Sweetened Foods
Some food items don’t contain sugar in its direct form, but are laced with artificial sweeteners like corn sugar or high fructose corn syrup, which are equally (if not more) dangerous.
A high concentration of fructose can cause a greater loss of minerals from the teeth, making them weaker and more prone to decay.
Sugars such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose are common ingredients in fruit juices, and these count as one among the primary causes of tooth decay.
Fruits like grapefruit, limes, and oranges are rich sources of citric acid, which aggravates the damage inflicted on the tooth enamel. Such fruit juices are common causes of tooth decay and are best avoided.
People with bad breath suffer from tooth decay, mainly because they use mouth fresheners to rid themselves of the odor. But such mouth fresheners normally contain alcohol, which causes the mouth to dry up.
Not only does this worsen the initial problem of bad breath, it also leads to the reduced secretion of saliva. As a result, the bacteria in the mouth stick to the teeth for much longer, increasing the possibility of tooth decay.
The next time you find a dry mouth irritating, don’t suck on candy to keep your mouth wet – it will only aggravate the problem and add on to the causes of tooth decay.
Acid reflux is a condition in which acid from the stomach escapes into the esophagus and then makes its way into the mouth. This ranks among the main causes of tooth decay.
Also called Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, this condition can be recognized by the most common symptoms, which are nausea and heartburn. The acid that reaches the mouth can corrode ‘the enamel of the teeth, leading to tooth decay.
Sports Drinks And Diet Sodas
If you are very cautious about avoiding carbohydrates, you may still expose your teeth to acid from other sources.
The sports drinks that you rely on to re-hydrate after sessions of intense exercise contain artificial sweeteners, but these may not cause cavities, because the true culprit is the acidic nature of the preservatives that the drinks contain.
Diet sodas that are marketed as sugarless usually contain such acids (through preservatives), and these substances are even more likely to cause tooth decay.
Now that you’ve learned about the direct and indirect causes of tooth decay, it is vital to pay attention to the food items that you consume. When it comes to liquids, there is perhaps no healthier and safer alternative to plain water. As for dry mouth and acid reflux, it is best to consult your physician to see what measures you can adopt to get over these conditions. Early detection of tooth decay symptoms is important if you want to prevent extensive damage to your teeth. Make sure you visit your dentist for a regular check-up to identify problems before they can cause irreparable damage.