Tooth decay is also known as dental caries, is one of such diseases that is very common, and it is a reason for an early loss of teeth in adults and children. It is the permanently damaged area in teeth that further develop into tiny holes. It occurs due to the effect of acids made by bacteria which end up in the breakdown of teeth. The bacterias form acid, which dissolves the hard tissues like enamel; which is the outer layer of the tooth, cementum, etc. of the teeth.
These bacteria’s take energy from sugar in food, and they break down that sugar on the tooth surface, making it very vulnerable. So it is advisable not to consume sugar in abundance as it increases the risk factors like reduction in saliva which is a very significant cause of dental emergencies and with time the enamel becomes weak and form a cavity in the teeth. Drinks too, have sugar and starches, that give way to bacteria which produces acid and attack the tooth enamel. This leads to a considerable loss of minerals from them.
The two most common causes are:
- Consuming a diet high in sugar as it paves the way for the bacteria.
- Inappropriate oral hygiene. Not cleaning mouth every time after eating, so eating makes the teeth vulnerable to attacks by bacteria.
Symptoms Of Tooth Decay
Initially, cavities are not that prominent as the bacteria takes some time in converting the sugar into acids. But with time, depending on the extent and location, it may cause some symptoms like:
- A spontaneous toothache: a Sudden pain without any apparent cause can give a clear idea of something wrong.
- Visible holes and pits in the teeth: Tooth decay is the damaged areas that gradually develop into tiny holes.
- Colour of the teeth: The color becomes of the teeth becomes black in most of the cases followed by brown and yellow stains too and a chalky white spot on the surface of teeth.
- Tooth loss: If a person is losing teeth at an early age it is due to the effect of the bacteria on them. The tooth can fracture even under normal chewing forces.
- Bad breath and foul tastes: The effect of bacteria leads to a nasty taste in the mouth followed by a foul smell.
- Pain while chewing: The cavities formed gives sufficient pain while chewing even normal food.
- Sensitivity: While eating or drinking something hot, or cold or sweet if there is any sensation in the teeth you can sense something fishy right there.
- Regular cleaning: Regular cleaning of your mouth is very salient. Brushing the teeth twice a day helps a lot. Dental floss is also highly recommended for many to remove the food or dental plaque between the teeth, as sometimes toothbrushes can’t reach in some gaps of the mouth.
- Avoid eating sugar-rich food: Till now it’s evident that the leading cause of dental caries is sugar; So avoid their consumption. Limit food highs in sugar.
- Use Fluoride: It is a chemical that can prevent tooth decay and can even stop early tooth decay. It can be obtained from fluoride-rich toothpaste or using mouth rinse rich in this chemical.
- See a dentist: Consult a dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleaning from time to time, approximately every six month.
- Change the toothbrush: Every three month when the toothbrush undergoes sufficient wear and tear, change to a new brush will help in removing the bacteria more and more.
- Use sealants: It is a plastic protective coating applied on the molars to protect decay.
- Start eating specifically chosen products like cheese, apple, sugar-free chewing gums, etc. These all contain less sugar and help in stimulating saliva flow which is apparently in favor of your teeth and against the bacteria.
Important Article: Save Yourself From Tooth Decay
Once after getting the apparent symptoms, the most important of all preventions is visiting the right dentist. They perform different diagnosis for the treatment, check the teeth for soft or sticky areas and take x-rays to figure out the decay. Dr. Deborah Tabb, a Bethesda Dentist, recommends that patients should get fully informed and detailed report before deciding on their treatment; They should understand the dental issue they are facing. They are also advised to be confident when getting treated by a professional and qualified dentist.