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Causes of Tooth Decay You Should Know

No part of the body functions completely independently and your teeth are no exception. Tooth decay can be caused by much more than just poor oral hygiene. Tooth decay is often a symptom of a bigger problem that doesn’t have to be just in the mouth. There are many common diseases that can cause tooth decay.

When you visit our clinic for your bi-annual dental checkup, our dentists look at more than your teeth. Your lifestyle and medical history may be assessed to obtain a clearer picture of your oral health. This helps us better determine what you need in terms of treatment and oral care. Below we look at some examples of diseases that are known to cause cause tooth decay.


Diabetes may have the most significant cause-effect relationship with tooth decay, regardless of which type of diabetes you have. The blood sugar in your body is elevated because of decreased insulin levels. This affects many parts of the body including teeth and gums.

Autoimmune diseases

Autoimmune diseases are diseases in which the body attacks healthy cells. This can be anything from large organ systems, such as the kidneys, to smaller organs and parts of the body such as salivary glands. Many of these diseases have some impact on the mouth, but the one most directly related to oral health is Sjögren’s syndrome. This condition reduces the amount of saliva the mouth produces, which can cause the same effects as in diabetes. In extreme cases, patients may not produce saliva at all. People with Sjögren’s may need to see the dentist more than twice a year to monitor tooth decay due to decreased saliva production.

Anorexia and Bulimia

Anorexia and bulimia are serious eating disorders. They occur when people have an extreme fear of becoming overweight and as a result eat very little. Both conditions affect the teeth because the body does not get sufficient minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients it needs to maintain good oral health and prevent tooth decay. In addition, it is common for people with these eating disorders to choose unhealthy foods that are too sugary orhave too much salt, which is bad for the teeth.

To learn more or schedule an appointment for the treatment of tooth decay, get in touch with us today.

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