Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is a type of damage that can be done to the teeth. There are many factors that go into developing tooth decay, and many people have more than one cause. Tooth decay is extremely common and is one of the most common health problems in the world. Anyone of any age can get cavities, even infants. They are found most often in kids, teens, and seniors. If you have teeth, you are at risk of getting tooth decay.
When you get tooth decay, it’s necessary to get them treated as soon as possible. If it isn’t treated, it will get worse and worse until you could lose the tooth. Cavities are holes in the teeth, and these holes can get bigger when left untreated. The best way to avoid getting tooth decay is to have a good dental hygiene regimen at home and to see the dentist every six months.
Causes of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a long process that takes time to produce a cavity. First, plaque forms on the teeth. This is a sticky biofilm that forms over the entire tooth, minus the root. It is caused by eating starchy and sugary foods and not taking good care of your teeth. When these substances are allowed to stay on the teeth, bacteria begin to eat them. This is what creates plaque. This will stick to your teeth and can harden there, forming tartar. When tartar has formed, it shields bacteria and allows it to stay on your teeth. Tartar can’t be removed at home and must be removed by the dentist or dental hygienist.
Once you have plaque on your teeth, you also have the acids that are present in plaque. These acids can take minerals out of the enamel of your teeth. This then causes the enamel to get holes from the erosion of the acids. After these acids have made holes in the enamel, the outer layer of the teeth, these holes spread to the dentin, the next tooth layer. The dentin is softer than the outer layer, and it has less resistance to plaque acids. The dentin layer also has small tubes in it that allow communication with the nerves inside the tooth. When holes reach the dentin, it often causes tooth sensitivity.
When tooth decay continues, the acid and bacteria keep going through the tooth. It will then reach the next layer of the tooth, the pulp. This material has blood vessels and nerves in it, and it can be highly irritated by this decay. It can become swollen, causing the pulp to expand. As it does so, it will press on the nerves inside the tooth and cause pain. This pain is felt in the tooth, but that pain can also extend down into the bone around it.
Tooth Decay Problems
Patients who have tooth decay may have an array of problems that stem from it. There are a number of symptoms and complications that tooth decay can cause. Many people don’t take tooth decay very seriously, but the complications can be severe, depending on the stage of the decay. Great additional info on tooth decay here.
Many people feel pain when they have tooth decay, but that pain can get worse when the tooth develops an abscess. Patients may also get swelling around their tooth or have pus leak out. The tooth may look damaged, and it might cause the teeth to become broken because of the demineralization. Decay can also cause patients to have trouble with chewing, and they may lose teeth because of it. When teeth are lost, this can then lead to teeth moving around and the bone deteriorating.
Tooth decay that gets severe can cause enough pain that normal life is disrupted. It can cause patients to not be able to eat healthy foods because of the pain, and this can lead to unintended weight loss. It can affect the way they look and can lead to tooth infections that can get into the bloodstream. This can mean infections that may be life-threatening. Prevent tooth decay by brushing, flossing, and avoiding too many sugary or starchy foods. It’s also important to get your regular cleaning from the dentist.