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Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Do I Have High Risk Of Tooth Decay?

Dr. Vincent Wan


Some people have high risk of tooth decay.  Their tooth structure is more prone to breaking down and forming cavities than the average person.  They can get cavities easily even though they may brush and floss twice daily and go to the dentist every 6 months for a checkup and teeth cleaning.  They may have 1 of 3 problems or a combination of all 3:

  1. Weak Enamel
    Some people are born with thinner or more porous enamel.  There are even conditions where some people are born with little or no enamel at all.Some people damage their enamel significantly after being born with healthy teeth.  They may have suffered an accident which damaged their teeth.  They may have a medical condition or taken medications that damaged their teeth.  Some people may not have looked after their teeth very well for a long period of time and their enamel has been damaged irreversibly.Enamel is the strongest part of the tooth.  Without good enamel, your teeth may be more prone to breaking down and forming cavities.
  2. Low Saliva
    Saliva is very important for protecting our teeth.  It is anti-microbial and washes away food and debris.  It puts mineral back on the teeth to strengthen and repair.  It also buffers acids to limit erosion of tooth structure.Reduced saliva can occur due to salivary gland issues, aging, medical conditions and medications.  With low saliva, the teeth lose their natural protection system and can break down faster and be at risk of decay.
  3. Acidic Mouth
    Some people have a more acidic oral environment than others.  This may be due to saliva issues or reflux from the digestive tract.  Reflux may commonly be due to pregnancy, medical conditions and medications.An acidic oral environment dissolves tooth structure and prevents tooth structure repair.  It allows bacteria that cause decay to thrive so there is high risk of tooth decay.