Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different types live on our teeth, gums, tongue and other places in our mouths. Some bacteria are helpful. But some can be harmful such as those that play a role in the tooth decay process.
Tooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids. Over time, these acids can cause tooth decay.
How Does a Cavity Develop?
A cavity develops when a tooth is exposed to acid frequently. For example, if you eat or drink often, especially foods or drinks containing sugars and starches, the repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay.
Tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva, and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources.
But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. A cavity is permanent damage that needs to be repaired with a filling.
Preventing Tooth Decay
- Regular dental checkups and professional care will help detect early decay
- Tooth mousse
- Diet low in sugars
- Pit and fissure sealants
- Good cleaning of your teeth
Should I Wait Until I Have Pain?
No, smaller holes are easier to repair successfully and much cheaper to treat.
Often, dental caries do not cause pain unless the cavity is very close to the tooth nerve.
For more advice, speak to us at North Road Dental Centre so that we can create a plan of action for reducing the development of tooth decay.
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