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Top 5 Tooth Decay Causes

Tooth decay, also known as cavities, can be a devastating complication that affects people of all ages and lifestyles. Tooth decay is the destruction of your healthy enamel that occurs regularly throughout your life. Regardless of whether you know it, many of your daily habits could be contributing to the corrosion of your teeth.

When germs and bacteria begin to compile, they eventuate in acid which slowly generates corrosion of your ivories. Tooth decay pain can leave your dental health in shambles and produce various issues for your teeth. Read on and learn more about the common causes of tooth decay.

If you need tooth decay treatment in Los Angeles, schedule a consultation.

#5 Improper Nutrition

It’s safe to say that when it comes to dental health, what you don’t eat is just as important as what you do eat. It is essential to have proper nutrition, not only for internal health, but for the well-being and vigor of your teeth. Consuming a healthy diet of nutritious and hearty foods can safeguard your teeth and prevent tooth decay, as well as forestall the accumulation of cavities. Most people, often unbeknownst to them, are creating significant dental issues for themselves via their diet. In fact, per Newsmax, approximately 91 percent of American adults have cavities. This number is incomparably larger than American adults who have children and even that of American adults that have back problems; two very common occurrences in North America. Clearly cavities and tooth decay are extraordinarily prevalent among Americans. A vast preponderance of the 91 percent of American adults with tooth decay do in fact have cavities due to improper nutrition.

The nutriment habits of most Americans consist of little sustenance and too many sweets culminating in unquestionably steep counts of the American population being affected by cavities. There are a multitude of dietary items that should generally be avoided or limited to assist in thwarting the growth of bacteria in the mouth and thus avoiding tooth decay. Many of the following food items should be limited in order to maintain a healthy diet that impedes the production of tooth decay pain, including:


Sugar: It should be relatively obvious that sugar is especially destructive to the health and well-being of your teeth. However, most people likely don’t recognize the immense volume of products containing harmful sugars. Brown sugar, organic sugar, cane juice, corn syrup, candy, jams and many more unnamed products have substantial amounts of sugar that are catastrophic to your dental health. It is paramount to evade sugary substances and foods. Sugary foods are the biggest inhibitors of bacteria in your mouth which result in your teeth being coated with enamel damaging acid.


Hydrogenated Oils: Not only do hydrogenated oils have a pernicious effect on heart health, but foods with high amounts of hydrogenated oils also have detrimental ramifications on the overall fettle of your teeth. Forget for a moment that hydrogenated oils significantly boost your likelihood of heart disease, stroke and increased inflammation, hydrogenated oils also envelop your teeth in decaying acid that gradually eats away at your enamel. Abstaining from eating foods with potent amounts of hydrogenated oil, such as donuts, crackers and cookies, can support your teeth’s health and deter tooth decay.


It is sensible to avoid sugary and unhealthy items in order to obviate dental ailing. Improper nutrition is one of the utmost causes of tooth decay both internally and externally. Enjoying sugary, oily or other relatively unhealthy food should be kept to a minimum to conserve tooth salubrity.

#4 Medicine Side Effects

We have all seen the medicine commercials where the narrator spends most of the ad outlining the multitude of side effects that a particular drug has. Naturally, society at large has begun to view side effects of medicine as an understandable concomitant. Unfortunately, many pharmaceuticals have varying aftereffects that conclusively harm our teeth and can yield fluctuating degrees of tooth decay as a repercussion. You likely do not realize it, but many prevailing medications have a deluge of side effects that are likely doing a number on your oral health. Both over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have ingredients within that are inimical to your enamel. Many of the most common drugs that damage enamel and fluctuate tooth decay are:

Pain Medications: We all likely take pain medications whether for headaches, back pains, or even in some scenarios for toothaches. What many of us don’t envision is that the very medicine we are taking for our toothache could be causing deep-rooted inflictions to our teeth. Pain medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been revealed to cause tooth decay that emanates from the dry mouth that many medications precipitate. Naturally, pain medication only taken occasionally in all likelihood won’t cause notable issues for dental health. However, protracted use of pain medications both over-the-counter (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin) and prescription (OxyContin, Tramadol) mar enamel over time. Some solutions could be to sip water throughout the day, chew sugarless gum and of course practice good dental hygiene. Rehydrating the mouth is exceedingly important after taking pain medications.


Antacids: Popular antacids, such as Tums and Prilosec, can leave your teeth enamel weakened and depleted when taken steadily. These medications cause dry mouth which is recognized to inhibit the growth of bacteria and depletion of tooth enamel. Additionally, Tums, Prilosec and other popular antacid brands contain cogent amounts of sugar which act as a double whammy on the overall health and prosperity of your teeth. Chewable antacids, which are the most prevalent form of the drug, get cemented between teeth and after elongated exposure, stimulate the expansion of tooth decay and prevalence of cavities. Using antacids sparingly, picking a sugar-free version and regularly attending dental checkups can cut back on the damage caused by antacids.


Decongestants: Decongestants, as well as antihistamines, used regularly can prompt the growth of bacteria in the mouth. Antihistamines are used to block histamine receptors in order to prevent allergic reactions. Consequently, by blocking histamine receptors the mouth is very prone to drying out, which of courses prompts the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth. Decongestants also induce tooth decay when used in large amounts. In fact, cough syrup is not only full of sugar but also are very acidic. The acidity present in cough syrups is capable of eroding teeth which causes cavities and tooth decay. One considerably effective method of preventing decongestant caused tooth decay would be to practice good dental care and by using a fluoride toothpaste after taking decongestants or antihistamines. Additionally, sipping water throughout the day can be beneficial for prohibiting tooth decay caused by decongestants and antihistamines.


There subsists a myriad of other medications that contain elements that are disadvantageous to the health of your teeth, such as several high blood pressure medications and antidepressants.  The general rule to follow when consistently taking medications appropriately is to clean your teeth following each dosage as well as to keep hydrated.

#3 Tooth Grinding

Tooth grinding is commonplace among most people. It is especially common that those who grind their teeth do not even recognize that they are doing it. Generally tooth grinding occurs while sleeping and over time can lead to tooth decay through stripping away of the outer layer of tooth enamel. Additionally, snoring also can lead to tooth decay via dry mouth buildup of bacteria which when combined with tooth grinding increases your likelihood of experiencing tooth decay. To prevent tooth grinding, a night guard may be beneficial.

#2 Genetics

Many of the root causes of tooth decay and cavities are oftimes preventable, as most tooth decay inciters are regularly lifestyle choices that we make. For example, consistently eating sugary foods is a lifestyle choice we are able to shape which generally leads to below par dental health. Unfortunately, our decisions aren’t always the lone cause of poor dental health and decaying teeth. Genetics can play an immense role in the evolution of our poor dental health. Just like you inherit the color of your eyes or the color of your hair, similarly you are able to acquire deep tooth crevices and enamel issues from your parents. This inheritance of dental features ultimately can lead to the accrual of cavities, tooth decay, periodontal disease and a vast amount of other dental health issues. It is foremost important to maintain a robust dental cleaning regimen in order to keep your teeth healthy and to eschew tooth decay.       

If you need tooth decay treatment in Los Angeles, schedule a consultation

#1 Dry Mouth Issues

As mentioned before, dry mouth is one of the most crucial components that contribute to the growth of cavity causing bacteria in the mouth. Actually, dry mouth doesn’t just cause tooth decay, it can also have a variety of other dangerous effects on the mouth. Coated tongue, mouth sores, mouth fungal infection, cracked lips and split skin are all additional fatal complications of dry mouth. However, the most prevalent issue affiliated with dry mouth is increased plaque, gum disease and tooth decay. Tooth Decay generating dry mouth has a legion of causes including:

Medications: As seen before, hundreds of medications, both over the counter and prescription, can frequently produce dry mouth as a side effect. Depression, neuropathy and anxiety drugs are all among the drugs most known to cause the increase of dry mouth among patients who utilize the powerful mendicants. Additionally, more common drugs such as antihistamines, cold medicines and pain medications can all also create dry mouth as well.


Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco alone is very harmful not only to your lungs and overall well-being, but also to your gums, teeth and dental health. In addition to the nicotine in tobacco that harms your teeth, tobacco use also quickly dries out your mouth. As seen before, dry mouth creates a structurally at risk mouth that becomes susceptible to the growth of cavity causing bacteria.


Health Conditions: Dry mouth is not just a side effect of medicine, but can also be a result of various health conditions and chronic diseases. For example, HIV, AIDS, Stroke and Alzheimer’s can cause the sufferers of the diseases to be vulnerable to dry mouth and thus be susceptible to cavities for which you will need tooth decay treatment in Los Angeles.

Dry mouth is one of the biggest causes of tooth decay among Americans. So many Americans are vulnerable to the effects of dry mouth because there are various causes of the condition. Dry mouth inevitably almost always leads to the end result of tooth decay and cavities among victims.

Tooth decay is a burgeoning issue in The United States, with over 91% of Americans having at least one cavity. If you are experiencing tooth decay and need a tooth decay treatment in Los Angeles give our specialists a call.

Prevent Tooth Decay

David Kao, DDS is an expert periodontist and dental implant specialist for the greater downtown Los Angeles area. Contact us to schedule a consultation today to prevent tooth decay and improve your overall oral health!