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Manage These Risk Factors to Reduce Your Risk of Tooth Decay

ManageTheseRiskFactorstoReduceYourRiskofToothDecay

Tooth decay doesn't occur out of thin air, but is the end result of bacteria feeding on sugar, multiplying and producing acid. High acidity erodes tooth enamel and creates an environment for cavity development.

Modern dentistry can effectively treat cavities and often save the tooth from further damage. But you don't have to wait: You can reduce your chances of cavities by managing risk factors that contribute to decay.

Here are 4 top risk factors for tooth decay and what you can do about them.

Poor saliva flow. Saliva neutralizes acid and helps restore minerals to enamel after acid contact. But your enamel may not have full protection against acid if you have diminished saliva flow, often due to certain medications. You can help increase your saliva by consulting with your doctor about drug alternatives, drinking more water or using a saliva boosting product. Smoking can also inhibit saliva, so consider quitting if you smoke.

Eating habits. High sugar content in your diet can increase bacterial growth and acid production. Reducing your overall sugar consumption, therefore, can reduce your risk of decay. Continuous snacking can also increase your decay risk, preventing saliva from bringing your mouth back to its normal neutral pH. Instead, limit your snack periods to just a few times a day, or reserve all your eating for mealtimes.

Dental plaque. Daily eating creates a filmy buildup on the teeth called dental plaque. If not removed, plaque can then harden into a calcified form called calculus, an ideal haven for bacteria. You can help curtail this accumulation by thoroughly brushing and flossing daily, followed by dental cleanings at least every six months. These combined hygiene practices can drastically reduce your cavity risk.

Your genetics. Researchers have identified up to 50 specific genes that can influence the risk for cavities. As a result, individuals with similar dietary and hygiene practices can have vastly different experiences with tooth decay. Besides continuing good lifestyle habits, the best way to manage a genetic disposition for dental disease is not to neglect ongoing professional dental care.

If you would like more information on managing your tooth decay risk factors, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What Everyone Should Know About Tooth Decay.”

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  • "Great dentist -- I've had multiple procedures at his practice -- cleanings, fillings, and crowns -- all work has been excellent. The entire crew at Capitol Dental makes going to the dentist a pleasure -- how often can you say that?"
    Paul M.
  • "Dr. Haroian is an outstanding dentist. I've been seeing him for 13 years and can't imagine going to anyone else. I highly recommend him."
    John N.
  • "Dr. Haroian is a great dentist. He is personable and makes the visit enjoyable. He goes above and beyound to ensure the proper care for my teeth. If you are looking for an effective trustwothy dentist, I highly recommend Dr. Haroian."
    Mike B.
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    Elizabeth D.
  • "My family and I have been going to Gregory Haroian for all of our dentistry needs since 2004. My husband and I and our four children are all clients. Appointments are on-time. The staff is helpful and personable, and we have always had great results. Thanks Greg!"
    Karen R.
  • "I have used Dr Haroian as my dentist most of my adult life. Also my family including my wife and two children. His office has always been an excellent place to receive dental care. I would and have recommended him to all my friends and family."
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