Dental Guides

Tooth Decay: Causes, Symptoms and How to Prevent

"Tooth decay" is the term used to describe the deterioration of a tooth's enamel surface caused by the production of acids by oral bacteria. Our mouths are filled with bacteria. Some microorganisms are advantageous. But some of them can be dangerous, like the ones that cause dental decay. These microbes and foods combine to form plaque, which is a sticky, gooey film. 

The starch and sugar in your food and drink are used by the bacteria in plaque to produce acids. The acids cause the minerals on your enamel to begin to degrade. The plaque may eventually become tartar. Plaque and tartar can irritate your gums and lead to gum disease, in addition to harming your teeth.

Tooth decay is primarily brought on by poor hygiene. Dental plaque is an invisible film that builds up on teeth, which can lead to tooth decay. In order to prevent dental plaque from forming, it is important to maintain good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing teeth twice a day, flossing once a day, avoiding acidic foods and drinks, and visiting the dentist regularly especially if you wear dental braces.

Signs You Might Be At Risk For Tooth Decay

The most visible signs of tooth decay may not always be present. You might anticipate observing significant tooth surface discolorations or a blatant toothache. Early warning signs of tooth decay may include toothaches and other types of oral pain. This isn't always the case, though.

In order to prevent tooth decay, it is important to be aware of its early warning indications. The following are indications of dental decay that you should be aware of:

Unpleasant Aftertaste

Since it's possible to unintentionally ingest food products with poor tastes occasionally, this might not be readily apparent. But if you experience terrible breath after eating and even after brushing and flossing your teeth thoroughly, it could be an indication of tooth decay.

Sulfur is a primary component of the foul odors that cause a terrible taste in the mouth and is produced when dental bacteria interact with dietary ingredients. This is a sign of persistent bad dental hygiene, which can cause tooth decay.

Persistent Sensitivity to Sweetness

Are sweets painful for your teeth? Do you cringe at the notion of eating sweets because your teeth hurt? If your teeth react negatively to sugary foods, your tooth enamel is likely compromised. A persistent aversion to sweets is frequently the result of enamel damage and, more particularly, the beginning of a cavity, similar to temperature sensitivity.

Recurring Nighttime Toothaches

A chronic toothache in one or more of your teeth may be brought on by a cavity. In actuality, one of the most prevalent signs of a cavity is pain.

This pain can occasionally strike out of nowhere or be brought on by food. This involves soreness and agony in or near your mouth. When you bite into food, you could experience pressure and pain as well.

A Tooth Stain

The toughest tissue in your body is the enamel on your teeth. It isn't impenetrable, though. The germs in your mouth continue to erode your tooth enamel after the initial stage of demineralization. You may now detect a yellow or gray color in your cavities. The discoloration could get darker as the decay progresses. Stains from cavities can be brown, black, or white and frequently appear on the surface of the tooth.

Gingival bleeding

The accumulation of plaque at the gum line is the primary cause of bleeding gums. Inflamed gums, often known as gingivitis, will result from this. Tartar will form if plaque is not eliminated. Increased bleeding and periodontitis, a more severe form of gum and jawbone disease, will result from this. In addition to being a symptom of periodontal disease, bleeding gums are also a sign of bad oral habits that may later result in cavities.

Abnormal  Hot and Cold Tooth Sensitivity  

Teeth being sensitive can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be brought on by acidic foods, tooth grinding, untreated gum infections, and more.

Persistent sensitivity after eating hot or cold food could be brought on by a cavity. The dentin, the hard tissue layer beneath the enamel, may be impacted when the enamel on your tooth begins to erode. Numerous tiny, hollow tubes of various sizes can be found in dentin. Foods that are hot, cold, sticky, or acidic might excite the cells and nerve inside your tooth when there isn't enough enamel to protect the dentin. The sensitivity you experience results from this.

Hole in Your Tooth

You might be able to see a hole or pit in your tooth when you look in the mirror or feel it when you run your tongue over the surface of your teeth if the white spot on your tooth, which represents the beginning of a cavity, gets worse. Some holes can't be felt or seen, especially those that are in fissures or in the space between your teeth. However, you might still feel sensitive or uncomfortable close to the cavity.

If you notice a hole or pit in your tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist. You have dental decay if you have this, no doubt about it.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush, ideally, after every meal and especially before bed.
  • To get food debris out from between your teeth, use dental floss or interdental cleaners like the Oral-B Interdental Brush, Reach Stim-U-Dent, or Sulcabrush every day.
  • Use a fluoride-containing mouthwash every day to rinse. Some rinses also include antiseptic elements to help kill the germs responsible for plaque.
  • Eat healthful, balanced meals and refrain from overindulging in snacks. Avoid foods that include carbohydrates that might cause tooth surface stains, such as sweets, pretzels, and chips. Wash your teeth as soon as you consume anything sticky.
  • Ask your dentist if using additional fluoride, which strengthens teeth, may be beneficial.
  • On prevent tooth decay, ask your dentist about applying dental sealants, a plastic protective covering, to the chewing surfaces of your back teeth (molars).
  • savor some fluoride water. For youngsters to be protected against tooth decay, at least one pint of fluoridated water must be consumed daily.
  • For routine oral examinations and professional cleanings, visit your dentist.

It goes without saying that infections of the heart and brain are just two of the significant health issues that tooth decay puts people at risk for. A lifetime commitment is required to prevent cavities and treat tooth decay. Contact your nearest dentist  for a consultation.

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