What Is Tooth Decay, Know About Symptoms & Causes

What Is Tooth Decay?

You can understand tooth decay or cavity as a hole that develops in the teeth. The cavity or tooth decay can damage areas in the hard surface of the teeth, which form into small openings or holes. They will begin with a small size and soon become bigger when left untreated. Just because many tooth decay does not cause pain initially, it becomes hard to realize that a problem exists. Regular dental appointments are helpful in detecting tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Symptoms

Symptoms of tooth decay depend upon its extent and location. When the cavity occurs in the initial time, a person may not have any symptoms. But when the decay gets larger, some signs and symptoms may appear, like toothache, tooth sensitivity, spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without any apparent cause, visible pits or holes in the teeth, pain at the time of biting, mild to sharp pain when drinking or eating something sweet, hot or cold, brown, black or white staining on any surface of the tooth.

Tooth Decay Causes

Some major causes of tooth decay are sticky, sugary foods and beverages. The consumption of more sugar and more acid may lead towards decay. Sugar combines with plaque to reduce enamel strength, leaving the person vulnerable to tooth decay.

The time when someone eats a sugary snack, their teeth get vulnerable to damage from the acids for the next 20 minutes. That is why the necessity in mind about tooth decay should be there to understand its cause so that one can learn the proper way to care for oral health. Below are some points that will try to display various causes of tooth decay.

Poor Oral Hygiene

If you are lazy and avoid brushing regularly, you appreciate plaque building up and attacking the tooth enamel. Even if you don’t have any problem, try to brush on time at least twice daily to keep your mouth healthy.

Eating & Drinking

Those conscious about their health know what to eat for them and what to avoid. But many of them don’t know that the things they eat can build up plaque, even if it is healthy. Eating and drinking can also play a significant role in forming cavities. Whatever we eat or drink, the carbohydrates stay there until we brush. Even after brushing, we can’t remove carbohydrates and other food particles from the teeth.

Foods that continue to remain in our teeth are responsible for encouraging cavities. Dentists suggest brushing your teeth regularly, especially when drinking soda or milk or eating dried fruit, hard candy, raisins, dry cereal, sugary cereals, breath mints, cookies, etc.

Medical Problems

Even they can contribute to tooth decay by causing acid from the stomach to flow back into the mouth. Also, some cancer treatments may promote tooth cavities, especially those exposed to head and neck radiation. It is because they can change the makeup of saliva to encourage increased bacterial growth.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth may give rise to plaque occupying space in the mouth. Saliva helps wash plaque from the teeth. That is why drinking at least a particular amount of water per day is recommended to keep the mouth wet and praise it for originating saliva.

Plaque Build-up

Plaque is caused due to the combination of bacteria, food particles, acid and saliva in the mouth, and it complies with the teeth and builds up over time. The acid in plaque attacks the tooth enamel and can cause holes in the teeth, known as tooth decay.

Acid & Bacteria

Many people will not like this fact, but bacteria live naturally in the mouth. When such types of bacteria digest the carbohydrates that linger on the teeth and mouth, acid develops.

Basic Ways To Keep Away From Tooth Decay

Our personal advice to all readers and the rest of the people is to brush your teeth at least twice a day to avoid dental problems. Numerous toothbrushes can be found in the markets. You should pick the best one that can reach all the surfaces of your teeth, and it will be icing on the cake if it includes a textured tongue cleaner.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet will not harm your body parts. Avoid carbohydrates like candy or chips that can stick through the tooth surface. Even if you eat sticky foods, make a small effort to brush once afterwards to add stars to your tooth’s life.

You can consult your dentist about using supplemental fluoride that strengthens the teeth. You can also ask them about dental sealants known as plastic protective coating. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) to keep them restricted from decay. Give some time to your dentist for professional cleanings and oral exams to avoid dental problems.

Even researchers are originating new means to prevent cavities. Several materials are being explored that slowly release fluoride over time and will help prevent further decay. These materials will be placed between or in pits and fissures of teeth. Those toothpaste and mouth rinses that can reverse and heal the cavities are also being studied.

Risk Factors Involved In Tooth Decay

Factors like the location of the teeth can increase the risk of having tooth decay as it mostly occurs in molar and premolars (back teeth). This species of teeth contains pits, crannies, grooves and different roots that can catch food particles. That is why cleaning them is harder than the front teeth. Even things like ice cream, sugar, dried fruit, milk, honey, soda, cookies, cakes, mints, dry cereal, cake, and chips are more likely to cause tooth decay than foods easily washed away by saliva.

Don’t try to snack or sip sugary drinks steadily because it allows mouth bacteria to develop acids that attack the teeth and wear them down. Taking acidic drinks like soda throughout the day can create a continual acid bath over the teeth. We do not feel about all such things, but they happen inside our little mouths.

It is special advice to mothers who have small babies. When pure souls are given bedtime bottles filled with milk, juice, formula or other sugar-containing liquids, they usually remain on their teeth for a healthy interval. At the same time, they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring material that helps prevent cavities and tends to reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. Due to its specialties, it is a common ingredient in mouth rinses and toothpaste. Many public water supplies also add fluoride to water, but bottled water usually does not contain the same. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, also called GERD or heartburn, can cause stomach acid to flow into the mouth, wearing away the tooth enamel and causing damage.

Complications That Arise In Tooth Decay

People do not entertain cavities and tooth decay just because they are common. One may think it doesn’t matter if a child gets cavities in its baby teeth. However, tooth decay and cavities can have lasting and serious complications, even for children without permanent teeth. Complications may include pain, tooth abscess, chewing problems, positioning shifts of teeth after tooth loss, damage or broken teeth, swelling or pus around the teeth, etc.

A person may have some other complications when cavities and decay become severe. There might be weight loss or nutritional problems from difficult or painful chewing or eating. You may also face pain that interferes with daily living.

Tooth Decay Stages

A number of steps are needed for the cavities to develop. Initiating from losing tooth minerals, called demineralization, to eat through the teeth can cause tooth decay. This disease can also occur when carbohydrate foods get trapped between teeth and not clear out with a brush or floss. The person experiencing tooth decay may not be aware of this disease.

The earliest signs will be displayed as the appearance of a small spot of decay visible on the surface of the tooth. After it continues to demineralise, it can turn brown but will eventually turn into a cavity. The process is reversible before the cavity forms. The lost tooth structure cannot be regenerated once the cavity originates. A shiny and dark brown lesion suggests tooth decay was once present, but the demineralization process has stopped, leaving a stain. Active decay is dull in appearance and lighter in colour.

Tooth Decay Treatment

If symptoms like tooth sensitivity or pain are getting visible, one must need to tell the doctor so that he can identify the tooth decay. He can perform an oral exam, but in some cases, oral exams do not reveal some cavities. That’s why they might go for a dental X-ray to explore tooth decay. Various options are there to treat tooth decay mentioned below.

  1. Tooth Filling Treatment

Your dental practitioner might use a drill to remove decayed material from the teeth. After performing this task, he will fill the teeth with a substance such as gold, silver or composite resin.

  1. Root Canal Treatment

When the cavity causes the death of a person’s nerves, the dentist will use a root canal to save their teeth. In this process, the dentist removes the blood vessel tissues, nerve tissue and any other decayed areas of the tooth. After that, the dentist will check for infections and apply medication to the roots according to the need. In the end, they will fill the teeth, and there may be chances of a crown to take place as well.

  1. Crown

Crowns consider a custom-fit cap that uses in place of a teeth’s natural crown. The dentist might use this option over the teeth of the patient. He will first remove decayed tooth material and fit the crown over the person’s teeth.

 Keeping an eye on Children

Children are fond of many things. These things also include those items which develop tooth decay in the mouth. That is why a child’s diet is crucial in preventing the cavity. Whatever we eat or drink something with sugar or starch, bacteria living inside our mouth will use them to create acids. These acids start to eat away at the tooth’s enamel.

Our saliva can assist in fighting acid attacks. But if we continue taking foods and drinks with sugar and starches, saliva will not work ideally, and the acid attack will entertain a victory, causing the tooth to lose minerals and, thus, develop the cavity.

Make sure your child brushes. Encourage your kid to brush in both daytime and night. Monitor whether they are not eating or drinking anything with sugar after bedtime brushing—the flow of saliva decrease at the time of sleep. Without sufficient saliva, teeth are less able to repair themselves after the acid attack. Small things can create a big impact on the upcoming time. If you are concerned about your child’s dental health, try to make their visit to the dentist.

Also, try to tell them about steps to clean their teeth thoroughly. Tell them something about tooth decay and its formation process so they will learn something beneficial. Guide them about things that can affect the health of the mouth and teeth so that they can follow the guidelines and avoid those unsuitable for them.

ELITE DENTAL GROUP, 1249 W. Glenoaks Blvd Glendale, CA 91201
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