Understanding Tooth Decay: 5 Facts About Cavities

Article by Dr Raha Sepehrara

We’re told from a young age that we need to brush our teeth and avoid eating or drinking anything that contains too much sugar. Although the risk of tooth decay is drilled into us from childhood, there are quite often holes in our knowledge and sometimes holes in our teeth!

According to the World Health Organization, tooth decay is the world’s most common non-communicable disease — it’s something we all need to worry about. But tooth decay doesn’t just cause the need for fillings. The consequences of ignoring it are far worse.

Learning more about the causes and effects of tooth decay can help you avoid dental problems and improve your overall oral health.

Here are five essential facts about cavities and why you should never overlook them.

1. Tooth Decay Is Caused By Bacteria

Inside all our mouths, there are many different types of bacteria. Some are good, and others are bad. Even with the best cleaning regime in the world, this bacteria is always there. Managing bacteria is, therefore, essential.

Any leftover food particles in your mouth mix with saliva and bacteria to form plaque, a sticky substance that often coats your teeth. The bad bacteria in the plaque feeds on starch and sugar in your diet.

When the bacteria consume sugar, it produces acid. When left on your teeth, this acid erodes the surface creating small holes known as cavities.

2. We Can Repair Cavities Easily

Dental cavities take time to appear. One early warning sign is sensitivity in the affected tooth. A dentist can also often spot cavities before they appear. A routine checkup lets your dentist identify thinning in your tooth’s enamel.

But even if a cavity has formed, fillings will quickly repair the damage and protect the tooth from future issues.

3. Without a Filling, Your Tooth Will Become Infected

A filling plugs the hole left by acid erosion. Before having a filling, you might experience a toothache. But if you choose to ignore that toothache and not get a filling, the problems will worsen.

Bacteria will enter the tooth and eventually work their way down to the living cells at the core. Once your dental pulp becomes infected, your toothache will intensify. Gradually, the bacteria will kill the tooth.

4. A Root Canal Infection Doesn’t Just Kill the Tooth

Nobody wants a dead black tooth. A necrotic tooth will need extraction. But a dental infection doesn’t stop once the tooth is dead. An abscess will form under the tooth, and the infection will spread to the rest of your mouth.

Eventually, a dental infection will spread further than the mouth. The infection can enter the bloodstream. When this happens, it can move onto organs like your heart.

5. Tooth Decay Is Easily Avoided

Although tooth decay has the potential to wreak havoc on your mouth and overall physical health, it is easy to prevent.

Thoroughly brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste will not only remove any built-up plaque, but it’ll also strengthen your tooth’s enamel. You can also floss and use mouthwash for a fuller clean.

Nobody is saying you can’t enjoy the occasional sweet treat; however, if you’re having anything particularly sugary, think about brushing your teeth soon after.

Visiting your dentist twice a year also helps. A regular checkup will help you stay ahead of your dental problems. With advance notice of a potential issue, you can make changes and prevent decay.

Similarly, visiting us for a professional clean can remove tartar; the hardened plaque that binds tight to your teeth.

Dental Suite Is Here to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

Prevention is always better than whatever treatment you need to fix the problem. By tackling the causes of tooth decay, you can maintain a good standard of oral health.

To arrange your next checkup or professional clean, call us today.



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