You probably never think that much about your teeth, but they are a major indicator of your overall health. Tooth decay is one of the most common and destructive oral diseases. However, these are preventable with proper care and self-awareness.

Defining Tooth Decay

Tooth decay, sometimes known as a cavity, is a health problem when acid or bacteria eat away at the natural protective coating inside each tooth. It is caused by increased acid levels in the mouth, eroding your teeth’s protective enamel layer.

It causes your teeth to become more porous and vulnerable to bacteria. Tooth decay can cause cavities, gum inflammation, and tooth loss. Eating too many sugary foods, such as candy and desserts, can result in tooth decay. 

The bacteria, saliva, and debris combine to form plaque, cling to your teeth, and causing damage.  If left untreated, pain and expensive treatment will only make matters worse.

Common Symptoms of Tooth Decay

An easy way to improve oral health is by understanding the signs and symptoms of tooth decay. These can be very small or large; in some cases, you may not have any signs or symptoms. As the cavity expands, however, it can cause pain in the tooth and possibly other problems. 

The following symptoms include:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Tooth Stains or Spots (usually white, yellow, or brown)
  • Holes around the teeth
  • Bad breath

Types of Tooth Decay

Tooth decay affects the entire outer layer of the tooth and progresses through each successive layer. First, decay forms in the outermost layer of a tooth. Then decay progresses to the pulp and dentin or the middle layer before attaching to an adhesion barrier that protects the pulp. 

Decay reaches this last stage when it forms a hole in the outermost layer of tooth enamel; if that hole is large enough, it can interfere with blood circulation to your nerves and cause pain.

The following are the types of tooth decay.

Smooth Surface

This type of decay forms in the spaces between teeth which can develop if you don’t brush your teeth and floss regularly. While this cavity can be prevented and sometimes reversed, it can cause significant pain and permanent tooth damage if not treated. It often starts in people aged 20-40, especially when they drink too much soda or coffee between meals.

Pit and Fissure Decay

Pit and fissure decay is the most common tooth problem in early childhood. The decay process starts with stains and pits on the surface of teeth caused by food particles stuck to them. It is caused by bacteria that eat away at the pit and fissure opening. 

These areas are susceptible to infection by other types of bacteria, making it difficult for your tooth to heal properly. It can worsen as time progresses, making it harder for your teeth to repair themselves because bacteria can no longer grow inside the pit or fissure.

Root Decay

Root decay is a progressive disease that destroys the supportive structure of your teeth.  It occurs when bacteria in the mouth, called plaque and gingivitis, develop an acid environment, causing damage to the nerves and blood vessels of a tooth’s roots, ultimately leading to tooth loss. 

The first signs of tooth root decay typically appear as increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures, the throbbing of the tooth, or jaw pain. It is important to seek immediate care if you have any of the following signs: acute redness, swelling, tenderness in your gums or oral mucosa, and pain while chewing or swallowing.

Tips on How to Prevent Tooth Decay

As you age, your teeth can become damaged from dental decay. Most people don’t even recognize this process is happening to their teeth. The risk of tooth decay increases as you get older because your bodies produce less saliva to help combat the bacteria that cause cavities. 

Here are a few simple steps to help prevent tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy.

Brush Your Teeth Regularly 

Your mouth is the gateway to your digestive system, and with bacteria living in it, you must keep it clean. You can take care of your teeth by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing regularly. You can help fight off these bacteria, minimize damage to your tooth’s enamel, and protect your smile.

Use Flouride Rinse

A daily fluoride rinse can help in the prevention of tooth decay by eliminating food particles that can cause cavities and inflammation. When used with fluoride toothpaste, these rinses protect teeth from the damage caused by bacteria. 

Floss In Between Your Teeth

It’s very common for food debris to get stuck between your teeth. And if these remain trapped for long, the bacteria can weaken your tooth enamel and cause cavities. Avoiding food particles from forming between your teeth is simple. Simply floss them away with interdental cleaners or use a string of dental floss to pick up any debris that may be stuck in between your teeth.

Lessen Sugar Intake

If you eat sugar in moderation, it’s fine for your teeth. However, eating too much of it at once hinders your oral health. This is because excess sugar on the teeth leads to cavities. The best thing to do is to ensure that it doesn’t linger too long on your teeth and consume your sugar in smaller doses.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

A regular dental checkup is essential in protecting your teeth from cavities. Dentists help safeguard your teeth against cavities. It gives you a chance to get the best oral hygiene practices and habituate to cleaning your mouth at least twice daily. 

Conclusion

Taking care of your oral health needs can be simple and fun. Brush twice daily, floss your teeth,  and visit your dentists regularly! We hope these crucial tips help you maintain a worry-free smile for a lifetime.

We know you deserve to smile in comfort and confidence, so we’ll ensure your teeth feel as good as they look.  Looking for a renowned dentist? Huch Family Dentistry offers customized dental services that will take your smile to the next level. They’re dedicated to providing you with the highest quality dental care in a friendly and welcoming environment.