Understanding the Causes of Tooth Decay
Poor oral health can ruin your confidence. Someone with mouth odor and brown teeth may not smile confidently in public or in photos. And things get worse when chewing becomes excruciatingly painful. All of these can result from tooth decay.
What is tooth decay
You have tooth decay when a hole (a cavity) forms in your tooth. Tooth decay is also commonly called a cavity.
About 80% of bad breath results from oral issues such as tooth decay.
What causes tooth decay?
Bacteria are always present in your mouth and form a film -- known as plaque -- over your teeth.
When you consume sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria feed on the carbohydrate by converting it into acid. Acid is bad for teeth health. Tooth decay occurs when the acid causes a breakdown of your tooth surface, leading to holes.
The problem with tooth decay is that the beginning is like opening a bag of troubles. Once the hard surface becomes open, the bacteria can reach the softer tissue -- the dentine -- and cause more damage. This speeds up tooth decay.
If left untreated, the bacteria will get to the pulp, the softest part of the tooth containing nerves and blood vessels. The nerves become exposed to bacteria, which is when you start feeling pains.
Why you should see a dentist regularly
You may not feel any pain or symptoms as tooth decay progresses until the pulp has been harmed. It's therefore important to visit a dental clinic near you at least every six months. Your dentist will examine your teeth and prevent or treat any damage early before it progresses.
If you recently started feeling pains in your teeth, you should urgently see a dentist.
Some symptoms of tooth decay
Again, tooth decay may not cause pain, allowing it to progress unnoticed.
However, cavities sometimes come with other symptoms, including:
- Tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking hot or cold substances
- Grey, black, or brown spots in your teeth
- Mouth odor
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth.
How to prevent tooth decay
Fortunately, tooth decay is entirely preventable. Here are some guidelines to prevent tooth decay:
- Fluoride deficiency can lead to tooth decay, so using toothpastes containing fluoride is recommended.
- Drink water immediately after eating to wash away the sugar in your mouth and prevent it from being converted into acid
- Use mouthwash to remove plaque and bacteria from those hard-to-reach areas.
- Visit your dentist regularly.
- Minimize your sugary food and drink intake, especially just before bed
- Limit how much your kid eats sugary snacks and drinks, and use children's toothpaste for them.
Treatment of tooth decay
There are different treatment options for cavities
- Filling - your dentist will remove the dental decay and fill it up to cover the cavity
- Root canal treatment - this is often necessary if the decay has spread to the pulp
- Removing the tooth - if it has deteriorated to a great irreversible extent, removing it altogether may be the best choice. The dentist may replace it with an implant.
Tooth care is important and should be a part of your beauty routine. Shinning white teeth is a confidence boost that allows you to showcase that beautiful smile.