Everyone’s risk of developing tooth decay will be slightly different and can depend on a number of factors. If you’re already a regular patient at Leeds City Dental care then it is likely to be something that Dr David Brown or another of our dentists has already identified and discussed with you. There are various signs they will be looking out for that may indicate you are at increased risk, and these include:
- Having had a cavity within the last three years
- Having decay that is visible to the naked eye
- Having decay that can only be detected through dental x-rays
- Having early signs of lesions in the contact areas between your teeth
Risk Factors associated with Tooth Decay
There are also quite a few risk factors associated with tooth decay. One is having visible signs of dental plaque. This is a biofilm that forms over the surface of the teeth, especially when they haven’t been cleaned properly for a while. If there’s sufficient plaque to be visible then it’s present in a large quantity, and as plaque bacteria produce acid, the mouth will be more acidic and more at risk of tooth decay as the acid attack the tooth enamel, softening it and making it more vulnerable.
Another well-known risk factor is having a dry mouth that is caused by inadequate saliva flow. Saliva is extremely helpful in helping to protect the teeth against tooth decay as it has the ability to neutralise acids and helps to wash away plaque bacteria and particles of leftover food. It’s something that can be caused by medications, or it may be due to another disease such as diabetes.
People who like to snack frequently, especially on acidic foods or foods that are high in sugars or refined carbohydrates are more at risk of tooth decay. This is because constant snacking lowers the pH levels in the mouth. This is due to the acids produced by plaque bacteria that use leftover food as an energy source.
Wearing dental appliances increases the risk of tooth decay as these devices tend to restrict the flow of saliva, hindering its ability to wash away food and plaque. Dental appliances can easily trap plaque and food debris.
Having deep pits and fissures in the chewing surfaces of your back teeth will also increase the risk of decay. This is one reason why Leeds City Dentalcare recommends that teenagers have their adult back teeth protected with dental sealants as soon as they erupt. Some of these fissures and grooves can be extremely deep and very difficult to clean.
Additional risk factors can include having anorexia or bulimia or having acid reflux, as all these conditions can increase acidity in the mouth.
Restoring the Odds in Your Favour
If you are at increased risk of tooth decay then there are lots of things you can do to help decrease the chances of cavities. Regular dental care and cosmetic dentistry in Leeds surgery is essential, as are professional teeth cleanings. These help to remove hardened plaque bacteria from your teeth so they cannot continue creating acidic conditions in your mouth. Regular dental care at home is also very important. Making sure you brush your teeth diligently and that you floss in between each tooth will help considerably, as the contact areas in between the teeth are particularly prone towards decay. Our dentist in Leeds will recommend additional fluoride treatments if necessary as these can help to harden the tooth enamel.