Tooth Decay- All You Need to Know

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Since childhood, we have been repeatedly asked to brush our teeth regularly in order to avoid dental issues such as tooth decay, infections, gum diseases, etc. However, it has been found that merely brushing your teeth won’t help you and various lifestyle factors, the food you eat, the water you drink, etc. may also have a deep impact on your oral health. There are various sticky and sugary food items that may get stuck in your teeth and attract bacteria. The accumulation of bacteria may make your mouth acidic and lead to the formation of cavities.

Generally, it has been observed that tooth decay happens when you eat foods high in carbohydrates, like bread, candy, chips, etc. get stuck in between your teeth.

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay

The symptoms of tooth decay vary from person to person and affect everyone differently. However, some common signs and symptoms of tooth decay include:

  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste while eating
  • Frequent bleeding of gums
  • Pain in the teeth
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold food items

5 Stages of Tooth Decay

  1. Demineralization: In this particular stage, you begin to see tiny whitish spots in your mouth. This occurs because the minerals of your tooth enamel start to break down.
  2. Decay of the enamel: If you don’t take any action, your situation may get worse and continue to break down your enamel. In this stage, you may begin to notice the cavities.
  3. Dentin decay: Once your enamel is eroded, next is the turn for your dentin. If bacteria reach this part, your cavity may deepen and you may experience teeth sensitivity.
  4. Pulp damage: After dentin, your tooth pulp may get damaged and cause a lot of pain. You may also begin to experience redness and swelling in your gums.
  5. Abscessed Tooth: Here, the cavity will cause infection and lead to the formation of pus at the tip of your tooth root. The pain may spread to nearby areas such as your jaws and face.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Some of the most common causes of tooth decay include:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene: If you do not brush your teeth regularly and do not use proper toothpaste and mouthwash, you will attract bacteria which will make your mouth acidic and cause cavities.
  • Not eating essential nutrients: Eating too much sugar or items that contain sugar and carbohydrates will also act as a breeding ground for bacteria and weaken your enamel.
  • Teeth grinding: As you grind your teeth, enamel gets eroded off the teeth which may make them highly susceptible to decay.
  • Genetics: Your genes can put you at a greater risk of tooth decay than any other person.
  • Overbrushing: When you brush your teeth too much, the enamel may get stripped off and lead to the development of cavities in your teeth.

Complications of Tooth Decay

There are various complications associated with tooth decay and some of them are given below:

  • Pain
  • Formation of pus
  • Swelling
  • Tooth abscess
  • Damaged tooth
  • Shifting of your teeth
  • Tooth loss

Diagnosis of Tooth Decay

Visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to detect cavities. When you visit your dentist, he will use a few instruments to assess the condition of your teeth. He may even need an X-ray report to understand the severity of the issue.

Treatment of Tooth Decay

There are various ways to treat tooth decay. Some of these methods can be done at home and others may require the attention of a dentist. The treatments for tooth decay include:

  • Fluoride: If your tooth decay is at a nascent stage, the use of fluoride can help reverse the early signs of cavities.
  • Use of dental fillings: When you visit your dentist, he will drill the hole in your tooth and take out the affected tissue. Then he will fill the hole using resin, silver or gold material.
  • Root canal therapy: When your tooth decay has reached an advanced stage, your dentist may suggest root canal therapy where the affected tooth pulp is taken out and filled using appropriate materials.
  • Extraction of tooth: In cases where root canal therapy cannot be conducted, dentists suggest tooth extraction as a last resort.

Prevention of Tooth Decay

  • Brushing your teeth using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride can help a lot.
  • Flossing can be a game changer as it removes stuck food particles in between your teeth.
  • Limiting the intake of sugary food items and food rich in carbohydrates can also keep your oral health away from cavities.
  • Go for dental checkups at least twice a year so that the early signs of tooth decay can be detected early and steps can be taken to eradicate the cause.

Therefore, if you feel that you have developed early signs of tooth cavities, make sure to get yourself checked by your dentist so that the best possible course of action can be initiated immediately. When such problems are detected at an early stage, the cause is eliminated with the help of a minor procedure.

Disclaimer

This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise.

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