When acid is produced from plaque, tooth decay develops. Tooth decay is the second most common disease around the globe, following the common cold.
The decay can destroy your teeth and affect your oral health. When left untreated, tooth decay can lead to further problems such as cavities, gum disease, and dental abscess.
Tooth decay, also referred to as dental caries, can easily be prevented. On the other hand, if one of your teeth has been already affected by decay it is important that you know the symptoms and the treatment options your dentist may recommend.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Pain is the most common indication of tooth decay. But symptoms may vary, depending on the location and the extent of decay. As the decay increases, it can cause problems other than spontaneous tooth pain, such as:
Sensitive teeth – teeth become hypersensitive to cold and hot temperatures as well as to sweet and acidic foods.
Spots – brown, grey, black spots or staining appear on your teeth.
Holes – visible holes or pits start to develop in the affected teeth.
Bad breath – the bacteria on decayed tooth emit foul odour.
Unpleasant taste – tooth decay can result in the development of an abscess underneath the affected tooth, which causes an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
How Decay Develops
The number one culprit in tooth decay is none other than plaque. By now, you should be aware that plaque can result from poor diet choices and poor dental hygiene. Plaque is a sticky, film-like substance that accumulates on teeth and harbours harmful oral bacteria. When plaque meets with the sugar and starch in the foods you consume, they produce acids that attack and erode your teeth.
Treatment and Prevention
The best way to prevent tooth decay is to keep your teeth and gums healthy through daily care. It is important that you don’t only pay attention to your oral hygiene routine but also to your diet and lifestyle.
Tooth decay is a progressive disease; thus, your preventative measures must be progressive and continuous as well. Start by:
- Visiting your dentist regularly
- Brushing and flossing your teeth daily and regularly
- Cutting down on sugary, starchy, and acidic foods and beverages
- Avoiding smoking or drinking alcoholic drinks
- Seeing your dentist or physician if you suffer from dry mouth, which can be caused by certain medications, treatments, or illness
Dental sealants – sealants can prevent tooth decay by up to 90%. The chewing surfaces of the back teeth are susceptible to decay; thus, protecting these areas with sealants prevents food debris, bacteria, and acid from entering them.
Fluoride treatment – fluoride is added in most varieties of toothpaste to help prevent tooth decay. Your dentist may also provide topical fluoride treatment at the clinic if you are at moderate or high risk of caries.
Tooth fillings – to remove decay and protect the teeth, your dentist may recommend dental fillings. The procedure is quick and minimally invasive, involving the application of silver or composite resin filling on depressed areas of the affected tooth.
Dental crowns – if the tooth has lost a significant amount of its structure due to decay, a dental crown may be recommend to restore its shape and function.
Your Partners Against Tooth Decay
Don’t wait for tooth decay treatment if you can prevent tooth decay in the first place. Tooth decay destroys the aesthetic, health, and function of your tooth. Once the tooth is damaged, bringing back its original form and health is never completely possible.
At Warner Lakes Dental, we never tire of emphasizing the importance of prevention to your smile and wellness. We offer advanced preventative measures to help you and your children avoid tooth decay.
We are your trusted partners in wellness and prevention.