Factors that cause tooth decay

Factors that cause tooth decay

I believe that the most important factors, are as follows: 1.The mineralization and the  morphology of teeth, 2.Patient home care, 3.Diet, 4.Acidity of the mouth,and 5.Quality and amount of Saliva.I have not listed these factors necessarily in their order of importance and The information presented here is by no means definitive. I do not claim to be an expert on mouth chemistry and I have written this post with the intent of giving a reader someplace to find easy to  understand information about  what makes someone prone to tooth decay.

1. The mineralization and morphology of teeth
Teeth are definitely  not  all the same. Some are harder than others with extremely well formed  enamel. Some back teeth have grooves that are fused and others have deep crevices that can  trap bacteria that cause decay. Some teeth have defects in their enamel where the enamel matrix has not formed properly and can be easily invaded by bacteria. These defects can be seen often as yellow or brown areas in the enamel

2.Patient home care
How someone cares for their teeth at home makes a huge difference. Clearly someone who brushes and flosses properly every day ( twice a day would probably suffice). Brushing and flossing improperly can definitively make some one more prone to tooth problems. Often dentists give patients red disclosing tablets to take home to learn how to identify areas that they are missing with their brush or  floss. These tablets will stain area of adherent plaque that still remain on the teeth  after a patient has performed their oral  home care.
It is also possible to over brush your teeth, by brushing your teeth too often or by using excessive force. excessive tooth brushing can cause wear on teeth and can damage a patients gums as well.

3. Diet
This is a big factor. Diet can influence the amount of plaque produced in the mouth and can influence the acidity in the mouth, both are know  to influence a persons risk for tooth decay. There is a good chart that has lots of information on diet posted on www.bestmedicaldegrees.com/tooth-decay-index/

4. the acidty of the mouth
According to information I could find on some fast Google searches, normal saliva is has a ph between 6.2-7.4 and the acidity of the mouth can vary depending on the specific site in a mouth from which it’s measured. The ph can affected by the amount of salivation or by dietary factors. At times of copious salivation the ph will more closely approach 7.4. After eating food high in carbohydrates or sugars, the ph will temporarily drop.

5. The quality and amount of saliva.
People with dry mouths tend to be at a much higher risk for caries. Their mouth ph is affected and plaque tends to be more adherent to their teeth. Saliva definately has the ability to help clean the mouth. Dry mouths can occur due to stresss, medications(antihistimines, some bloodpressure medications), illness(sjorgen’s syndrome, oral radiation treatment,mouth breathing) and old age. Chewing of sugarless gums are encouraged in those with dry mouths since chewing stimulates saliva flow.