4 Common Conditions that Cause Tooth Decay
Junk food and poor oral hygiene aren’t the only things that lead to tooth decay. Your mouth is affected by what’s happening in the rest of your body. Diabetes, Sjogren’s Syndrome, and acid reflux are just some of the common health conditions that cause tooth decay. If you suffer from any of these conditions, at your next appointment, please let our Prescott Dentistry staff know, because extra dental care may be required.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by high blood sugar caused by low insulin levels. If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk for gum disease. Diabetics are generally more prone to bacterial infection and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums. Conversely, gum disease has the potential to raise blood sugar levels and further the progression of diabetes. So it can become a vicious cycle.
Diabetes also causes dry mouth. One of the main functions of saliva is to help protect the teeth from harmful bacteria—so a decrease in saliva production leaves teeth more susceptible to infection and decay. The good news is that by controlling your blood sugar levels, you can prevent many of these problems.
Your dentist may be the first to notice gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), more commonly known as acid reflux. If you suffer from this condition, there will likely be erosion on your back teeth due to the weakening of your enamel by stomach acid.
If you experience reflux episodes during the day, you can protect your teeth by rinsing vigorously with water to reduce acid in your mouth. Avoid brushing your teeth right away because the bristles can damage enamel that has been softened by the acid. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes after the reflux has been managed. To prevent nighttime reflux, try to refrain from eating two to three hours before bedtime, and avoid triggers like alcohol, caffeine and acidic foods.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can affect anyone, but it is most common in older women. It often develops as a complication from other autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
In this disease, the body attacks the glands that make tears and saliva, causing dry eyes and dry mouth. The saliva contains minerals that neutralize acid and help repair tooth enamel. Saliva also washes away bacterial plaque buildup on our teeth and gums. So without adequate amounts of saliva, plaque creates a film of bacteria and sugars on our teeth that leads to tooth decay and gum disease if not cleaned properly.
If you suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome, it is essential to maintain thorough oral hygiene and to keep up with your regular dental visits with your Prescott dentist twice a year.
Studies show that people with kidney disease are more likely to have oral health problems like periodontal (gum) disease than those with no kidney issues. While we all have bacteria in our mouth, someone with kidney disease who also has a buildup of bacteria in his or her mouth is more susceptible to infection because of a weakened immune system. If your kidney disease is the result of having diabetes, then you may have compounding issues, such as dry mouth.
These are just some of the common conditions that cause tooth decay. If you have one of these conditions, please talk to us about it at your next appointment. Our dentists at Prescott Dentistry care about the overall picture of your health. With proper oral care and regular dental cleanings, tooth decay associated with these conditions may be treated and even prevented.