For Adults: Am I at Risk for Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is one of the most common diseases affecting adults in the United States. A variety of factors put people at a greater risk for tooth decay, but the three most important are:

  1. How much bacteria accumulate on the surface of your teeth,
  2. How frequently the bacteria come in contact with refined carbohydrates such as sugar, and
  3. The strength or hardness of your tooth enamel. When bacteria and refined carbohydrates combine, the resulting acid can harm your tooth enamel.

The following questions may help you determine if you are at higher risk for tooth decay:

1. Do you use toothpaste that contains fluoride?
Yes     No 
2. Do you drink beverages that contain sugar or do you add sugar to drinks such as coffee or tea more than three times a day?
Yes     No 
3. Have you had more than two new cavities in the last three years?
Yes     No 
4. Do you snack on candy or other sugary foods more than twice a day?
Yes     No 
5. Have you lost a tooth in the last three years due to decay?
Yes     No 
6. Do you brush your teeth less than twice a day?
Yes     No 
7. Does the water you drink and cook with contain fluoride?
Yes     No 
8. Do you have your teeth cleaned at least once a year by a dentist or a dental hygienist?
Yes     No 
9. Do you take any medicine that makes your mouth dry or is your mouth dry as a result of radiation therapy or some other condition?
Yes     No 
10. Do you clean between your teeth with dental floss or an interproximal brush at least once a day?
Yes     No 
11. Is it uncomfortable to brush areas where your gums have receded?
Yes     No 
 

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