Tooth Decay is basically damaging the tooth surfaces by involving the Enamel & Dentine surface of the tooth. It is caused due to acid formation by bacteria in our mouth that attacks the surfaces of tooth-like enamel and dentine and can lead to tooth decay ( cavity ) or a hole within the tooth.
Causes of Tooth Decay
Major causes of tooth decay
1. Sugary & Sticky foods & Drinks -Dental Plaque is a combination of bacteria, saliva, food particles & acid releases in our oral cavity, it's a sticky substance or layer that binds to the teeth. In Day to day life we'd like to eat 3-4 times every day & that contains variant sugary diet or carbohydrates. When this sugary diet comes in contact with bacteria that is present in our oral cavity convert it into acid & this acidic plaque layer that is stick with your teeth erodes the tooth surface that's ( Enamel ), which is that the hardest and protecting layer of the tooth.
2. Dry mouth - Saliva is a very good media to clean the oral cavity and to remove the plaque layer over the tooth surface. If the person is having a dry mouth then the self-cleaning action won't be efficient and more plaque build-up will be there.
3. Poor oral Hygiene - Not maintaining the 2 times brushing habit and water flossing daily will increase the formation of plaque and attack the tooth enamel surface.
4. Too much of sugary & acidic drinks in the diet -Sugary and acidic diet play a significant role in the formation of cavities. If you eat sugary & high rich carbohydrates diet until you don't brush, food particles accumulate over the tooth surface & erode the tooth & form a tooth cavity, so try to clean your teeth regularly especially when u have milk products, soda, drinks, chocolates, candy, sweets, cookies, etc.
5. Medical issues & Acid reflux problem - This can result in stomach acid causing eroding of the tooth enamel surface and medical issues like bulimia.
What are the Sign and Symptoms of Tooth Decay?
1. Tooth Sensitivity - Sensitivity to hot & cold, sweets, etc
2. Staining -Brown stains over the tooth surface
3. Pit - which includes the noticeable hole & pits in the area of the grooves or sometimes detected by the dentist by taking radiographs.
4. Pus formations - It is a chronic condition of the tooth decay which causes pus release around the damaged tooth surface.
Tooth Decay Treatment Plan
Depending upon the severity and involvement of tooth decay, the dentist will examine the condition clinically or Radiographically and will suggest you the treatment plan:
1. Fluoride treatment - If the decay extension is in a very early stage then the fluoride treatment will help you to repair the enamel itself.
2. Tooth filling - If you have deep decay then your dentist will remove the decay portion of your tooth & restore the tooth structure with the filling material.
3. Root canal Treatment - If the decay portion is extended till the Pulpal area or the nerve tissue area then the dentist will clean all the decay & infected Pulpal area & restore the tooth back by doing internal and occlusal filling followed by a crown.
4. Extraction - In severe cases, if the tooth is not in a condition to save by root canal due to its chronic condition then the dentist will suggest for the tooth extraction.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay?
Taking good care of your teeth & oral health can help you to prevent tooth decay & cavities. Some important tips to maintain oral health are -
1. Brush your teeth regularly minimum two times daily with fluoridated toothpaste.
2. Use water flosser to maintain gum health.
3. Limit snacking between meals.
4. Eat less of sugary & acidic foods like candy, chocolate, soda, juice, sweets & carbohydrate diet.
5. Eat more of fiber-rich diet, calcium-rich foods.
6. Visit your dentist, no matter how busy you are, you should visit your dentist after every 6 months & get professional cleaning & polishing to remove the plaque & calculus formation over the tooth surface.
Taking good care of your teeth will help you to prevent tooth decay & cavity. Always understand the importance of oral health & its causes of how the single cavity can impact our oral health.