What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is permanent damage of the outer hard layer of the tooth enamel that develops into small holes. Decay is caused by bacteria in the mouth that forms on the teeth. In addition, tooth decay is common among children, teenagers, and older adults.

Untreated tooth decay can affect the inner layers of the teeth. The decay can cause toothache leading to tooth extraction and infection. Routine brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental visits, will prevent tooth decay. It is important to have routine dental checkups and dental cleaning to prevent cavity forming. Tooth decay causes cavities and can be an indication of poor oral health and hygiene.

tooth decay

Tooth Decay Development Process

Plaque forms: The gummy film that forms on the teeth caused by taking too many starches and starches not neglecting your teeth by not cleaning them properly is known as dental plaque. When sugary food and carbohydrates are not cleaned properly bacteria rapidly begin feeding on them and form plaque.

Plaque attacks: The acids in plaque take out the minerals of the outer hard layer of the tooth enamel. This causes small holes in the tooth enamel causing the bacteria and acid to spread to the next layer of the teeth called dentine. Dentine is less resistant to acid and softer than tooth enamel hence causing tooth sensitivity.

Tooth decay: The bacteria and acid continue to spread throughout the teeth reaching the next layer of the tooth called pulp that comprises of nerves and blood vessels. The bacteria cause the pulp to swell and irritate. Swelling inside the tooth causes the nerve to become pressed hence causing pain. The discomfort can spread outside the tooth root to the bone.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Inadequate oral hygiene, inadequate regular brushing after eating and drinking causes the plaque to form quickly and attack the tooth enamels the first stage of tooth decay.

Lack of saliva causes dry mouth; saliva washes food and plaque from the teeth hence prevents decay.

Eating and drinking foods that cling to the teeth for a long time can increase the risk of causing tooth decay.it is important to ensure you brush your teeth regularly after taking such food.

Medical problems such as GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease) causes stomach acid to move to the mouth affecting the tooth enamel and causing decay.

Common Symptoms

  • Severe tooth Pain
  • Pressure when biting foods causing tooth sensitivity
  • Tiny opening or holes in the affected tooth.
  • Pus accumulation around the tooth.

Prevent Decay

  • Flossing and brushing regularly with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Eating and drinking nutritious and balanced food and drinks as opposed to sugary foods.
  • Use of Mouthwashes since it kills the bacteria that can cause plaque and leave the mouth clean and breath fresh.
  • Use of Dental sealants because they protect the tooth enamel from plaque and acid and it is a protective coating applied to the chewing surface of teeth.
  • Visiting dentist regularly for tooth cleaning and dental examination.

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