Tooth Decay 101: Your Questions About Tooth Decay Answered

If you are like most people, you have a filling or two in your teeth right now. Tooth decay is a pretty common problem among both children and adults, no matter who you are or where you live, especially without proper dental care. If you have ever found yourself wondering about tooth decay, you probably have some questions. Here are a few of the most common questions about dental decay and the answers you should know. 

Is tooth decay a hereditary problem?

Tooth decay can actually be related to your genetics, even though it is not the final determining factor. For example, you may come from a family of people who have a softer tooth enamel, which would be easier to break down. Yet, even if you do have softer tooth enamel, with the proper dental hygiene, you should not experience problems with tooth decay. Most things about your teeth can be associated with genetics, right down to their size, shape, and yes, their vulnerability to decay. 

How does tooth decay develop if you always brush your teeth?

You have always brushed your teeth at least twice a day, or maybe you have brushed them after every meal for as long as you can remember. You probably will not see problems with tooth decay, right? Unfortunately, brushing alone is not enough to ward off decay. Some people will be more prone to tooth decay because:

  • they don't floss
  • they eat or drink a lot of acidic foods and drinks
  • they have a high-sugar diet
  • they have other health issues or gum disease
  • they smoke
  • they do not have professional dental cleaning
  • they do not get a lot of vitamins and minerals in their diet

There are actually a lot of factors that can contribute to tooth decay beyond just brushing, so make sure you know the risks for yourself and do what you can to combat them. 

Why is tooth decay such an issue for children?

Children are highly at risk for tooth decay even before they get their permanent teeth in. This is not necessarily because their teeth are weak (which is a common assumption); it is because children are not all that vigilant about cleaning their teeth properly. Plus, children are more likely to allow milk to pool in their mouth from a bottle or sippy cup when they are falling asleep, and they oftentimes don't eat the best foods. 

To learn more, contact a dentist in your area.