What is Tooth Decay and How is it Developed?
Tooth decay is a common problem which happens when your teeth’s enamel begins dissolving from the acids in your food. Although tooth decay is less commonplace now, mainly because of mainstream knowledge of its effects, it is still a condition which challenges us. Statistics tell us that one in four children under 5 years old will experience this, as well as one in every three adults will develop tooth decay in their lifetime.
Every time you eat, this acid is present and adds to the chance of developing decay. Unhealthy food breeds bacteria within your mouth, which, along with saliva, forms plaque. Plaque, in turn, produces additional acids when its bacteria turns carbohydrates into energy. Whether eating on the run, at home or sitting down to dinner in a restaurant, you have the opportunity to make better choices. Continue reading for more tooth decay prevention tips.
You can remove most of the plaque by regularly brushing your teeth. Allowing the plaque to build up will allow this same harmful substance to damage your tooth’s enamel. It does this in stages. First, plaque will weaken the surface of your tooth by eroding the essential minerals on the enamel. Next, it will create small holes, also known as cavities, which leads to pain and other difficulties. Tooth decay will then start to form at the rear of your mouth in the molars and premolars. Soon enough, a cavity is formed and it is then too late to fix your natural tooth.
What are Types of Tooth Decay Treatments
The treatment for tooth decay is determined by how widespread and severe the problem is. For teeth in the early stage of decay, we will treat it with professional-strength fluoride, which stops the decay from progressing further. For cavities, when the decay has eroded the enamel completely, we will remove the soft decay and fill the hole. If nerve damage is present, a more advanced treatment option like root canal could be required. This procedure removes the damaged nerve or allows it to naturally heal. The tooth can then be restored with a filling or crown, or in the case where restoration is not possible, it can be immediately removed.
How You Can Avoid Tooth Decay
Without a doubt, the best way to prevent tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene. Brushing, flossing and rinsing your teeth at least twice daily is essential.
- Brushing removes any plaque that has formed on your teeth’s surface and it should be done for a minimum of three minutes each morning and once at night before bed.
- Flossing helps maintain clean teeth by removing plaque and pieces of food that you can’t reach with a toothbrush.
- Use an alcohol-free mouthwash with fluoride in between, perhaps after lunch or dinner, to also help avoid decay. Don’t forget to avoid eating or drinking for a half hour after using mouthwash.
- Be aware of what you eat. Limiting the amount of sugar and other unhealthy foods can decrease the likelihood of getting tooth decay. In moderation, sugary foods and drinks are fine, but avoid having these at every meal. Planning menus and shopping accordingly will help. Also, organic foods are better for the health of your teeth because they are grown without pesticides.
For any questions or additional information on avoiding tooth decay or maintaining dental health give us a call. Our expert dentists and caring staff are here to help. Our office is located in Newport Beach, in gorgeous Orange County, California.