Tooth Decay: Why It Happens and How to Prevent It
Tooth decay is a danger to everybody. Research says that 90% of Americans have had a minimum of one cavity and that 67% of the total population had their first cavity before the age of five. It is also believed that a cavity, or dental caries, is a widespread disease which impacts a large number of people.
Causes and Symptoms
Cavities don’t just suddenly occur. They occur because of an ongoing issue such as bad oral hygiene. Bad oral hygiene results in the development of plaque and that is responsible for the development of caries. The bacteria responsible for tooth decay are Lactobacillus and Streptococcus Mutans. These bacteria generate acids which trigger the tooth decay. Bad oral hygiene is the major reason for caries. Not brushing regularly, or inappropriate brushing, results in bad oral hygiene. Not cleaning your teeth after meals, eating too many starchy or sugary foods, and smoking cigarettes also lead to tooth decay.
At first, there aren’t any symptoms until it has developed extensively. Symptoms may include a darkish spot or visible hole on the tooth’s surface. The spot may or may not be immediately apparent. As the decay advances, this light chalky spot becomes brown. The demineralization results in the region becoming soft. The decay advances into more intense levels where nerve fibers are affected. This results in pain and sensitivity
If you follow an appropriate dental care program, dental caries can be prevented. This includes effective oral hygiene, which is the best way to keep dental caries under control. When a patient is in danger of developing tooth decay, a dentist will take specific actions to protect the teeth. Some examples are:
- Topical Fluoride: Using fluoride on the tooth surface, which helps to prevent caries. This happens because of the building up of the tooth enamel by development of fluoropatite.
- Fissure Sealants: These are placed on the chewing surface of molars (which are at great risk for developing caries). This stops plaque development. This is specifically used on children.
It is important to identify if particular habits are triggering dental decay. These are usually checked to avoid future possibilities.
- Fillings: The decayed tooth shape cannot be saved, and has to be substituted with an artificial material. This treatment is known as filling or refurbishment. The decayed portion of the tooth is removed, then filled with a replacement substance such as a composite or amalgam.
- Capping: A cap, or crown, may be applied to cure tooth decay. This can be used if the damage to the tooth is too extensive or if there’s too little of the tooth to retain.
- Root Canal: When tooth decay is advanced to the nerve fibers, a root canal is advised. The whole pulp is taken out and filled up with a replacement substance, then enclosed. In many instances, a cap is then applied.