We’re all told that we need to take care of our teeth or they may become decayed. Tooth decay is nothing to smile about. In its mildest form, it causes cavities that will require fillings to address, left untreated, it can do much more damage.
So, what is tooth decay and how can it be prevented?
Let’s discuss five things you need to know about tooth decay.
1. Tooth Decay Is One of the Most Common Diseases In the World
We’ve all heard of tooth decay, but did you know how common it is? As a disease, it’s the second most common disease behind the common cold.
While extremely prevalent, it’s also very preventable.
2. Tooth Decay Is Caused By Acid-Producing Bacteria
To develop tooth decay (also referred to as dental caries or cavities) you need three things: teeth that are susceptible to decay, acid-producing bacteria, and a diet that’s high in sugar.
The naturally occurring bacteria feed off the sugar and acid is produced. When bacteria, acid, saliva, and food debris combine, the result is plaque which coats the outer layer of your teeth.
When left on the surface of your teeth, the tooth’s enamel and dentin will start to demineralise and break down and small holes will form. The result is usually toothache followed by a worsening of the decay, the eventual loss of your tooth, as well as abscesses and, in extreme cases, life-threatening complications such as sepsis.
3. Tooth Decay Is Avoidable
Because of the causes of tooth decay, there are simple ways to avoid it. To help strengthen your teeth, use fluoride toothpaste. Limiting your sugar intake will help reduce the production of plaque acid, and brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day will help clear away food debris and bacteria from your mouth.
Regular checkups allow us the opportunity to spot the early signs of erosion. Often, if we can see decay early, we can help you reverse its effects and prevent the need for further dental procedures such as a root canal treatment.
4. Cavities May Not Hurt Immediately
The common signs that you’ve got tooth decay include:
- A visible hole in the tooth
- Your tooth may turn black
Although tooth decay can cause severe toothache, you may not feel a thing until it’s too late. Often, the symptoms won’t appear until the cavity has fully formed.
The best way to keep ahead of tooth decay is to have appointments with us twice a year.
5. Prevention Is Better Than the Cure
If you’ve got tooth decay, we’ll usually try and fill the cavity in the first instance. If it’s progressed, you may need a root canal treatment or a crown to replace the decayed portion of your tooth and prevent further damage.
Taking care of your teeth in the first instance is always preferable to having treatment.
Take Steps to Prevent Tooth Decay With SmileMore
By making regular appointments at SmileMore, we’ll be able to monitor for the early warning signs of tooth decay. Our friendly team will also advise you on how to care for your teeth and prevent tooth decay from ruining your smile.
Get in touch today to arrange your appointment.