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You’re well aware that sugar is the primary culprit of tooth decay. So, you give up cake and soda in a pledge to improve your oral health. You brush, you floss, you try to do everything right. But at your last dental appointment, you hear devastating news: you have a cavity! Is it bad luck? Did your chompers betray you? How could a cavity sneak up on you like that? 

Let’s do a quick check. Here are some unlikely causes of tooth decay. You just might be guilty of doing them.

Dude, You’re Still Eating Sugar

You may have cleared your pantry of chocolate and candy bars, but sugar manifests in many ways! Seemingly innocent fruit like mangoes, watermelon, grapes, and your favorite post-workout snack bananas come loaded with fructose. Though this type of sugar is relatively better than others, they are still a sweet feast for oral bacteria.

While we’re talking about produce, know that acidic fruits, like oranges, pomelo, and strawberries, aren’t too good for your teeth either. Their acid content may wear down your tooth enamel, making you more susceptible to cavities.

You’re a Big Nail-biter

You can’t help it. Your nail-biting quick is your outlet for stress or nerves. Unfortunately, you might want to adopt a self-care session or CrossFit to release your anxiety. A study on the effects of oral fixation on dental health surveyed 40 persistent nail-biters and 40 chronic thumb-suckers. Published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, the results revealed that nail nibblers registered a higher plaque index compared to the other groups. Plaque is a precursor to cavities.

Nail-biting also showed an increased chance for gingivitis (gum disease) and bruxism (teeth grinding). According to numerous experts, the latter may cause major dental problems and leave teeth prone to decay.

Do You Love Bread?

Love carbs? Tooth decay-causing bacteria love them too!

Did you know that starch and sugar are the major components of bread? Like what you have in bread, crackers, and potato chips, starchy refined carbohydrates break down into sugar. This makes your favorite snacks doubly sugary, which means they are not suitable for your teeth.

But more than that, according to the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), when you chew starchy food, it becomes a gummy paste in your mouth that gets lodged between your teeth and gums. If you’re not the most conscientious tooth-brusher, this dental debris can bore a hole in your teeth!

You Don’t Drink Enough Water

You don’t have to eliminate sugars from your diet. We all need a piece of candy now and then, after all. According to advice from the URMC, one way to sneak sugars past your teeth is to enjoy them with a meal. When you’re eating, you generate more saliva, which helps reduce acid production and serves as your mouth’s built-in cleaning mechanism.

Drinking lots of water also works the same way. Based on the same article, a better option would be to find fluoridated bottled water, but since you can’t always find that in your everyday gas-station convenience store, you can get your fluoride fix from toothpaste instead. closeup All Around Fresh Cool Mint Toothpaste has antibacterial zinc and deep-cleaning silica and fluoride, which strengthens teeth and prevents cavities. Just make sure to brush up on your flossing and brushing techniques.

You Have a Weird Habit of Chewing on Ice

Don’t use your teeth as icebreakers.

In the strange words of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Freeze, allow us to break the ice. Most of us chew ice mindlessly when we’re drinking an iced beverage or enjoying an icy dessert, but chewing ice is an obsessive compulsion for some people. People who constantly crave and chew on ice have something called pagophagia. Though it doesn’t sound serious, this condition is usually related to anemia, but that’s a conversation for another day.

So, what’s the matter with ice? After all, it’s just water. Most ice-chewing consequences are cosmetic, like a cracked or chipped tooth. However, the extreme temperature can damage your tooth enamel, making you inclined to tooth decay as well as pangigilo (or dental sensitivity).

Are you guilty of any of these habits? This information is something to chew on. Fortunately, unlike ice and fingernails, it won’t cause dental problems and probable tooth decay. But whether or not you gorge on sweets and bread, remember that brushing your teeth properly is the most crucial step in oral care.