Teeth decay is a disease that affects numerous people, but what many don't realise is that it's not always caused by poor dental hygiene. Most people know that it's important to brush your teeth and floss between them regularly, but sometimes, tooth decay can be caused by other illnesses affecting the body. If you or someone you know is suffering from seemingly unexplained decay, one of these four illnesses could be the cause.
Gingivitis is a painful inflammation of the gums that often leads to tooth loss. The condition is caused by plaque, an invisible layer of bacteria that sticks to teeth and other hard surfaces in the mouth, including the tongue. Plaque irritates gums, causing them to become swollen and bleed easily. It also encourages gum recession along the tooth's gum line, which exposes sensitive root areas and causes decay. If left untreated for long periods of time (usually more than three months), the disease can become chronic and lead to more severe health complications such as heart disease or diabetes.
Diabetes is a group of diseases that cause an increase in the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Having too much glucose in your bloodstream is a common risk factor for tooth decay. Bacteria feed on sugar, so when you have a higher level of glucose in your blood, the bacteria in your mouth can multiply at an increased rate. On top of that, diabetes patients often suffer from dry mouth, which prevents saliva from washing away that bacteria.
Anorexia is characterized by obsessive calorie counting, excessive exercising, severe weight loss and in some cases self-induced vomiting. Eating disorders such as anorexia can severely weaken the immune system, which makes the body vulnerable to a number of chronic illnesses that can affect the mouth. Some people who suffer from anorexia may also abstain from eating foods that prevent tooth decay, including dairy and fruits.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (commonly known as GERD) is a chronic condition that affects numerous people around the world. The illness occurs when the muscles of the esophagus (the muscular tube that connects the mouth and stomach) are too weak to prevent stomach acid from rising back into the esophagus. If this acid rises into the mouth, it can begin attacking tooth enamel. Over time, the enamel wears down, leaving teeth far more susceptible to erosion and decay.
Contact a local dentist to learn more about these issues.