A bright, healthy smile is one of the most important qualities you can possess. Your teeth are one of the first things people notice about you, and good dental health can make a world of difference in how you look and feel.
For people with certain diseases, tooth decay can be a serious problem. It’s not just poor oral hygiene that you have to look out for, but usually something much greater happening with the body. Here are some common diseases to look out for that are known to cause tooth decay:
- Acid Reflux
People with acid reflux will often have erosion on their back teeth as a result of stomach acid dissolving the enamel. If you suffer from acid reflux episodes during the day, you can protect your teeth by rinsing thoroughly with water to reduce the acid in your mouth.
Don’t brush your teeth right away, as the bristles on your toothbrush can damage the enamel still soft from the acid. Help prevent nighttime reflux by not eating two to three hours before bed, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine.
- Anorexia and Bulimia
Eating disorders are a severe cause of tooth decay because they can cause the body to be nutrient-deficient. The body uses certain vitamins and minerals to maintain the health of your teeth and prevent the formation of tooth decay.
In anorexia, there is a severe lack of nutrient-dense foods that help strengthen your teeth. In the case of bulimia, people tend to binge eat and then vomit their food, releasing powerful stomach acid that will eat away at their tooth enamel, similar to the effects of acid reflux. If you feel you have an eating disorder, seek help from a therapist specializing in treating eating disorders.
Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay. Both type I and type II diabetes cause lower levels of insulin in the body, which in turn elevates blood sugar levels. Dry mouth is a very common symptom of diabetes, and is caused by a lack of saliva.
Saliva helps protect your teeth against the dangerous bacteria that cause tooth decay, and a lack of saliva causes your teeth to be extremely vulnerable. Certain mouthwashes and over the counter lozenges can help increase the production of saliva and manage the day-to-day symptoms of dry mouth.
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
The autoimmune condition Sjogren’s syndrome reduces the amount of saliva produced by the mouth. This has a similar effect as the dry mouth caused by diabetes, although in some extreme cases of Sjogren’s no saliva is produced at all.
If you have Sjogren’s, you may have to visit the dentist more than the recommended two visits a year in order to watch for tooth decay. As with any autoimmune condition, the body attacks itself, and following a strict autoimmune diet can help lessen the symptoms.
These are just 4 of the most common diseases that you might not know lead to tooth decay. Make sure you seek the correct professional help in treating these diseases if you notice the symptoms.