Tooth decay is a common problem that leads to discomfort, pain and even tooth loss. This issue is largely preventable so take heart, even if you are cavity prone. Regular care of your teeth and a healthy diet will go a long way to fending off the decay of your teeth.
Causes of Cavities and Tooth Decay
The beginning stages of cavity formation involves the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. There are many strains of naturally occurring bacteria that live in our mouths. Some of these strains thrive when you consume foods and drinks that contain sugar. The bacteria feeds on the sugar and then produce acids. If the sugars are not cleaned off of your teeth, the acids combine with the bacteria, saliva and food particles to form a film of plaque over your teeth.
Once plaque forms, the acids in it will begin to wear away the enamel of the tooth. These small openings in the tooth enamel are the beginning stages of a cavity or tooth decay. If allowed to go unchecked the bacteria and acid will attack the inner layer of tooth material called dentin. Dentin is softer than the enamel that covers the outside of a tooth. The decay can spread through dentin quicker and easier than it does the enamel. As the bacteria and acids continue through the dentin they will reach what is called the pulp. The pulp is the at the center of the tooth and contains blood and nerves.
If decay is allowed to reach this part of the tooth, you will begin to experience sensitivity, toothaches and pain upon biting. This is an advanced stage of tooth decay. The pulp will become irritated and the bone surrounding the tooth can become affected by it. Your body will respond to the infection in the pulp and you may develop an abscess along the gums under the tooth. If this happens a root canal will likely become necessary.
How to Avoid Cavities and Tooth Decay
When it comes to dental health, the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”, is very true. Preventing decay from starting in the first place will keep you from the pain and expense of an involved dental procedure. Even if a cavity is detected, if it is treated early and quickly, the decay can be stopped in its tracks and again, avoid costly and painful tooth problems.
Being consistent and diligent in good oral care will go a long way towards preventing cavities. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing everyday. If you can’t brush after a meal, rinse your mouth with water. Even chewing on sugar free gum can help clear out some of the sugars in your mouth. Eating a healthy diet that is low on sugary foods and beverages is very important to maintaining healthy teeth. It is recommended that you see a dentist for a cleaning and exam twice a year. This is a vital part in detecting decay early, so it can be stopped and addressed before it becomes a major problem. If you are experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity, you should contact your dentist at Primary Dental in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, as soon as possible. Remember most dental problems are preventable, especially tooth decay. It is worth the time and effort it takes to prevent cavities.