Tooth decay is often a symptom or warning sign of something much larger, and possibly more dangerous, happening in the body. What symptoms cause tooth decay?
Below are some of the most common diseases that frequently cause tooth decay. If you suffer from any of these conditions, be sure to discuss with your dentist at your next appointment.
Diabetes has perhaps the most significant cause and effect relationship with tooth decay. Whether you have type I or type II diabetes, your body’s blood sugar is elevated because of lowered insulin levels. This impacts many parts of the body, and the mouth is a big part of that.
One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is a dry mouth, which is due to a lack of saliva. Beyond making your mouth feel more comfortable, saliva also helps protect your teeth against the bacteria that cause tooth decay. If you don’t have enough saliva, your teeth are more vulnerable, and your risk of developing cavities is higher.
As the tooth decay continues to build up, the risk for gum disease also increases.
Autoimmune conditions are a family of diseases that involve the body attacking parts of itself. This can include everything from major organ systems, like the kidneys, to smaller systems like salivary glands. Many of these diseases have some impact on the mouth, but the one most directly tied to oral health is Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s reduces the amount of saliva the mouth produces, which has the same effects we described earlier with diabetes. In extreme cases, patients may not even produce saliva at all.
People with Sjögren’s may need to visit the dentist more frequently than twice per year to keep tabs on tooth decay that results from decreased saliva production.
Anorexia and Bulimia
Both anorexia and bulimia are severe eating disorders. They occur when men or women have an extreme fear of becoming overweight and either eat less or regurgitate food as a result.
Both conditions have implications on the teeth because the body is not getting the minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients that it needs to maintain good oral health and prevent tooth decay from forming. When people with anorexia do eat, they tend to fill up on sugary, salty, unhealthy foods that are bad for your teeth.
Other effects of bulimia include bad breath, swollen glands, and teeth that appear to be worn down.
Avoid Tooth Decay with Routine Dental Visits
The relationship between your mouth and the rest of your body are not always apparent which is why it’s important to communicate your medical history and dental hygiene with your Hoover Alabama dentist.