How to Manage Tooth Decay Risk Factors

lower these tooth decay risk factors

Do what you can to lower your risk for tooth decay and cavities.

Tooth decay doesn’t happen randomly but is the end result of bacteria feeding on the sugar present on your teeth and producing acid. High acidity then erodes your tooth enamel and creates the perfect environment for cavities and tooth decay. However, you don’t need to wait for cavities to form to address them. You can monitor the following four tooth decay risk factors to prevent cavities from developing. 

Poor Saliva Flow

Saliva helps neutralize acid and restore minerals to tooth enamel after acid contact. However, your enamel may not have full protection from acid if you have poor saliva flow. This can happen naturally or as a result of certain medications. You can help increase your saliva by consulting with your doctor about drug alternatives, quitting smoking, using a saliva boosting product, or drinking more water. 

Eating Habits

A high-sugar diet can increase bacterial growth and acid production in your mouth. By reducing your sugar consumption, you reduce your risk for tooth decay. Snacking throughout the day can also increase your risk for tooth decay, as it prevents saliva from bringing your mouth back to its neutral pH level. Instead, try limiting your snack periods to a few times a day. 

Dental Plaque

As we eat every day, our teeth build up plaque. If not removed, this filmy buildup can harden into a calcified form called calculus. Calculus is a haven for bacterial growth. You can help limit this accumulation by brushing and flossing every day and scheduling dental checkups every six months. These combined dental hygiene practices significantly reduce your risk of tooth decay. 


Researchers have identified up to 50 genes that can influence your risk for cavities. As a result, some individuals that practice similar dietary and dental hygiene practices can have a different experience with tooth decay. Besides continuing a good dental lifestyle, you should also consider whether you have a genetic predisposition for tooth decay. Have many family members had problems with cavities? It may be partially due to genetics. 

If you feel you are genetically predisposed to cavities, you should be extra vigilant about cleaning your teeth and lowering your risk for tooth decay. By monitoring the above factors, you can be sure to avoid uncomfortable dental problems.

Keep Your Smile Healthy with Affinity

While these tips can help with some tooth and gum sensitivity issues, we know the best way of correcting the problem is to visit your dentist regularly. Affinity Dental, located in Catonsville, MD, has six dentists and provides a variety of services from pediatric dentistry to orthodontics. Affinity Dental is capable of meeting all your needs. With 170 combined years of treating a variety of dental needs, Affinity is committed to providing quality dental care. To get your teeth back into good health and make your smile bright, call us at 410-719-7900 or contact us online. For other useful tips on dental care follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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