As soon as your first teeth start to come in, usually between 6 and 12 months, you can be susceptible to tooth decay. Decay is most common among children and teenagers since they are just learning how to take care of their teeth on their own. Between 2015 and 2016, £50.5 million was spent on tooth extraction, due to tooth decay on patients under the age of 19.
Tooth decay occurs when your tooth enamel softens and your teeth are no longer protected. Prolonged exposure to acid produced by plaque further destroys the surface of your teeth, leaving permanent damage to your smile and confidence.
Tooth Decay Treatment
Table of Contents
- 1 Tooth Decay Treatment
- 2 Tooth Decay Causes
- 3 Tooth Decay Symptoms
- 4 Tooth Decay Stages
- 5 How to Prevent Tooth Decay?
- 6 Diseases That Cause Tooth Decay ?
- 7 Where Does Tooth Decay Start?
- 8 Are Tooth Decay and Cavities the Same?
- 9 Why Tooth Decay Occurs?
- 10 Will Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath?
There is no reason to worry when diagnosed with tooth decay as most people will experience it at least once in their lifetime. The most important thing is to catch the decay during the early stages while preventative treatment is still an option.
During the early stages, you can treat your tooth decay with preventative measures so it can repair itself. A common method is applying a fluoride gel or pastes to the tooth surface. The fluoride will strengthen your enamel which helps make your teeth more resistant to harmful acids and plaque.
But, once deep holes and ridges have started to form due to your tooth decay, it is unlikely the tooth can heal itself and your dentist must fix the damage. The most basic form of treatment is filling. In this case, the decayed portion is removed from the tooth by drilling and is then replaced with a strong filling. Fillings are usually made of resin, porcelain, amalgam or gold.
If the tooth cannot be saved and is almost completely decayed, the tooth will be removed.
Tooth Decay Causes
Everyone is at risk for tooth decay, especially when they practice poor dental hygiene habits. However, there are some factors that can increase the probability of developing tooth decay.
High sugar intake
Some foods, especially ones with high sugar content, adhere to your teeth and accelerate damage.
If you are frequently providing the bacteria in your mouth with sugars in the form of snacking or drinking, more acid will be produced. This accelerates tooth decay.
Things that make brushing your teeth more difficult
Braces, permanent retainers, broken teeth, and worn dental devices can also hinder your brushing efforts. The location of your teeth also plays a role in the quality of your brushing. You may find yourself brushing the front teeth more vigorously than the back ones since they are easier to reach.
Reduced saliva production
Some medications or medical conditions lead to a decrease in saliva which means your mouth will not be washed off food particles in between brushings.
Some eating disorders like bulimia or reflux and heartburn lead to a higher flow of stomach acid into the mouth which eats at your enamel.
Tooth Decay Symptoms
Depending on the severity of your decay, the symptoms may vary.
Typical symptoms include:
- Continuous pain and toothache or bursts of sharp pain
- Tenderness or pain when drinking, hot, cold and sweet foods
- Bad breath
- Colored spots (usually grey, black or brown) on the tooth surface
- Bad taste in your mouth that doesn’t go away
- Visible holes in your teeth
Which symptoms you experience also depends on the tooth location. If they are near the back of your mouth, symptoms can go unnoticed for long periods.
Also note that intense levels of pain usually don’t occur until the pulp of your tooth, the soft center which holds the many nerves and blood vessels, becomes infected. But, when this happens, it is often too late to save the tooth. That’s why preventative measures and regular check-ups, even without symptoms, are so important.
Tooth Decay Stages
Decay doesn’t happen in an instant, the bacteria and acid will increase slowly and eat away at the surface.
Stage 1: Plaque formation
Stage 2: Acid production and enamel deterioration
Stage 3: Destruction moves toward the center of your tooth
Stage 4: The infection has reached the tooth’s pulp and the infection can cause serious health complications.
Below we given answer to some general questions you might have.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay?
First and foremost, the easiest way to prevent decay is to visit your local dental practice regularly for dental check-ups. Adults should be checked at least twice per year and children under the age of 18 at least once each calendar year.
Always practice good teeth and gum habits. Brush multiple times a day followed by flossing and a fluoride mouth rinse.
Diet changes including limiting your sugar and starch intake will decrease acid production in your mouth. Ingesting higher levels of calcium and fluoride will make your teeth more resilient.
Remember to talk with your dentist about the best prevention methods for your teeth. If you’re particularly at risk, he or she may recommend regular fluoride treatments or an antibacterial mouth rinse.
Diseases That Cause Tooth Decay ?
Diabetes and autoimmune diseases are known to accelerate the tooth decay process. Generally, any medical condition that affects the mouth in a negative fashion will increase your risk.
Where Does Tooth Decay Start?
Decay starts on the surface of your teeth and eventually spreads deeper in your tooth. Once the decay reaches this part of the tooth, it will accelerate immensely, and you may be unable to save your tooth.
Are Tooth Decay and Cavities the Same?
No, cavities are the permanent holes in your teeth caused by tooth decay. Watch below video to know about cavities and their causes.
Why Tooth Decay Occurs?
Everyone’s mouth is full of bacteria called dental plaque which covers the surface of our teeth. The interaction of this bacteria with frequent snacking or drinking and poor oral hygiene leads to tooth decay.
Will Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath?
Tooth decay can lead to bad breath if the decay spreads to the center of the tooth. As the pulp in the center dies or decays, it will emit a foul odor.
With proper oral hygiene habits, you can greatly reduce the danger of developing decay and avoid adverse side-effects. Contact your dentist for more information and a professional risk assessment.
Need More Information:
Watch the video to know about more decay Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.
Article contributed by – Oxford House Dental Practice, A Milton Keynes Dental Clinic which established in 1954. It has a special dental team and It offers best dental cares like cosmetic dental treatments and dental implants including Invisalign, dental sedation, missing teeth and all on 4 implants in Milton Keynes to patients.