When harmful bacteria in your mouth produce acids, they eat away your tooth’s dentin, leading to a hole in your tooth, which is commonly known as a cavity. If you leave it untreated, it could cause infection and pain and may result in tooth loss.
Your tooth has outer, middle, and center layers. The more layers the decay has affected, the worse damage it can cause.
Why Does Tooth Decay Occur?
The primary causes of tooth decay are bacteria and food. On your teeth and gums, a plaque is always forming, which contains bacteria. Bacteria feed on the sugars found in your food. As you eat sugar, it creates acids that can attack your teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If you failed to remove these acids by brushing and flossing, they could destroy your tooth enamel, resulting to decay.
Factors That Increase Risk Of Tooth Decay
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, you are more likely to suffer from tooth decay. Not seeing your dentist every six months for cleanings will also increase your chances of having such dental condition.
You are also at risk of tooth decay if you eat foods containing a high amount of sugar and other carbs. If you are not getting sufficient amount of fluoride, tooth decay can form as your teeth become more vulnerable to acids from the bacteria.
Do you suffer from xerostomia? This medical condition will also put your teeth at risk of decay. Xerostomia causes dry mouth. The saliva in your mouth washes away harmful sugars from your mouth, protecting the teeth from decay. It is one of the reasons adults are more prone to tooth decay, because they are likely to have a dry mouth.
Diabetes may also cause tooth decay.
What Are The Signs Of Tooth Decay?
You can have tooth decay without feeling any pain. You will only notice pain and sensitivity when the decay progresses through the enamel and the dentin layers. The dentin has tiny nerve endings that may irritate and cause sensitivity if exposed to hot, cold, and sour foods, among others. Discomfort may also arise when you bite down, or if there is a food trapped between your teeth.
Because dentin is softer than other layers, decay can quickly spread through it. If the decay goes to the root, it can spread quickly because the root is not as hard as enamel. When left untreated, the pain and sensitivity become more frequent and more intense.
Tooth Decay Treatment
When Nicholas S. St. George DDS detects an erosion of the enamel, he will suggest a tooth decay treatment that prevents decay from reaching the dentin. Treatment options can vary from the use of mouth rinse to toothpaste to filling materials. Visit his clinic today to find out if you have tooth decay and how to treat early signs of decay.
Do not allow the decay to reach the dentin because once it has been damaged, it can be difficult to repair. If your tooth loses a lot of its structure, you may need a dental crown that strengthens and restores your teeth’s function.