What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay or cavity can be simply understood as a hole that develops in the teeth. They are permanently damaged areas in the hard surface of the teeth which forms 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 in the initial time, 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 takes place in the initial time, a person may don’t have any type of 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 of the major causes of tooth decay are sticky, sugary foods and beverages. The more sugar consumed, the more acid gets produced and lead towards decay. Sugar combines with a plaque to reduce the strength of enamel, results in leaving the person vulnerable towards 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 a necessity in mind about tooth decay should be there to understand its cause so that one can learn the proper way to care for their oral health. Given below are some points which will try to display various causes of tooth decay.
- Poor Oral Hygiene– If you are lazy and avoid brushing regularly, you are appreciating plaque to build up and attack the tooth enamel. Even if you don’t have any problem, try to brush timely, at least two times a day for keeping the mouth healthy.
- Eating & Drinking- Those who are conscious about their health knows what is right to eat for them and what to avoid. But many of them don’t have an idea that the things they eat can build-up the plaque even if it is healthy. Eating and drinking can also play a significant role in the formation of cavities. Whatever we eat or drink, the carbohydrates stays there until we brush. Even after brushing, we can’t get able to remove carbohydrates and other food particles completely from the teeth.
Foods that continue to remain in our teeth are responsible to encourage cavities. It is advised to brush your teeth regularly especially when you are drinking soda or milk, or eating dried fruit, hard candy, raisins, dry cereal, sugary cereals, breath mints, cookies, etc.
- Medical Problems– Even they can also contribute towards tooth decay by causing acid from the stomach to flow back into the mouth. Along with that, some cancer treatment may promote tooth cavity especially those who expose head and neck radiation. It is because they can change the makeup of saliva to encourage increased bacterial growth.
- Dry Mouth– Dry mouth may give rise for plaque to occupy space in the mouth. Saliva is helpful in washing plaque from the teeth. That is why it is recommended to drink at least a particular amount of water per day in order to keep the mouth wet and praise it to originate saliva.
- Plaque Build-up– Plaque is caused due to the combination of bacteria, food particles, acid and saliva in the mouth. Plaque then complies to the teeth and builds up over time. The acid present in plaque attacks the tooth enamel and can cause holes in the teeth that are 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 which linger on the teeth and mouth, acid gets developed.
Basic Ways To Keep Away From Tooth Decay
Our personal advice to all readers and the rest of the people is that try to brush your teeth at least two times a day to stay away from dental problems. Numerous toothbrushes can be found in the markets, what you should do is to pick the best one that can reach to 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 any of your body parts. Try to 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 afterward to add stars in tooth’s life.
You can consult with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride that strengthens the teeth. You can also ask them about dental sealants which are known to be a plastic protective coating. They are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars) in order to keep them restricted from decay. Give some time to your dentist for professional cleanings and oral exam 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 types of materials will be placed between or in pits and fissures of teeth. Those toothpaste and mouth rinses which 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 it is hard to clean them as compared to 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 as compared to the foods that get easily washed away by saliva.
Don’t try to snack or sip sugary drinks steadily, because it gives mouth bacteria freedom to develop acids which attack the teeth and wear them down. Taking acidic drinks like soda throughout the day can assist to create a continual acid bath over the teeth. We do not feel about all such things but they tend to happen inside our little mouth.
It is special advice to mothers who have small babies. When pure souls are given bedtime bottles filled with things like milk, juice, formula or other sugar-containing liquids, they usually remain on their teeth for a healthy interval of time while they sleep, feeding decay-causing bacteria.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring material which helps in preventing the cavities and has the tendency to reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage. Due to its specialties, it gets added as a common ingredient in mouth rinses and toothpaste. Many public water supplies also add fluoride in water, but bottled water usually does not contain the same. Gastroesophageal reflux disease also termed as 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 very common. One may think that it doesn’t matter if a child gets cavities in its baby teeth. Though tooth decay and cavities can have lasting and serious complications, even for those children who haven’t got their permanent teeth yet. 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 the loss of tooth mineral, called demineralization to eat all the way through the teeth can cause tooth decay. Even this disease can also occur when foods consisting carbohydrates get trapped between teeth and do not clear out with brush or floss. The person who is experiencing tooth decay may not be aware about this disease. The earliest signs will be displayed as the appearance of a small spot of decay which will be 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 lesion which appears shiny and dark brown suggests that tooth decay were once present but 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 find out some cavities, that’s why they might go for a dental X-ray for exploring tooth decay. Various options are there to treat tooth decay. They have been mentioned below.
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 like gold, silver or composite resin.
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, blood vessel tissues, nerve tissue and any other decayed areas of the tooth get removed. 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.
Crowns can be considered as a custom-fit cap that is used in place of a teeth’s natural crown. The dentist might use this option over the teeth of the patient. He will remove decayed tooth material first and will fit the crown over the person’s teeth.
Keeping 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 which has a presence of 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 with acid attack. But we continue taking foods and drinks that have a presence of 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. Keep eye whether they are not eating or drinking anything with sugar in it after bedtime brushing. A 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 some 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 thoroughly clean the teeth. Tell them something about tooth decay and its process of a formation so that they will learn something beneficial. Guide them about those things which can affect the health of mouth and teeth so that they could follow the guidelines and keep away from those things that are not suitable for them.