How is tooth decay caused and how can i avoid it ?


What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay also known as dental cavities and dental caries is an infection of tooth which result in destruction of either outer hard surface of tooth (enamel), or second layer beneath the enamel (dentin) or  inside the tooth (pulp) containing the nerve and blood vessel. They are especially common in children and older people. But everyone having teeth can get dental cavities where even the infants are affected by this disease. Tooth decay is a common health problem, second in prevalence to common cold. According to the studies, in the United States dental caries is the most common chronic childhood disease.  

What are the symptoms of tooth decay?

The sign and symptoms of tooth decay vary, depending on their extent and location. Some of the common symptoms are toothache, tooth sensitivity problems, visible of cavities, brown, black or white staining on surface of tooth, bad breath and pain while biting or eating food.

How is tooth decay caused?

The mouth is a natural environment for number of bacteria but the one which cause tooth decay are mainly Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli. Tooth decay results from the action of bacteria which are present in plaque. Plaque is a sticky, whitish film formed by the proteins present in saliva and from sugary substances in mouth. This plaque bacteria use sugar from food particles to produce acid that results in dental carries. Therefore formation of dental cavities depends primarily on three factors plaque bacteria, sugary substances and vulnerable mouth surface. These bacteria converts’ sugars like glucose, sucrose, lactose into lactic acid through a glycolytic process called fermentation.When these acids develops, it dissolves the minerals in enamel (demineralization) thus resulting in holes and cavities. This process is dynamic and remineralisation can occur if the acid is neutralized by saliva and mouthwash. Thus tooth is constantly exposed to the process of demineralization and remineralisation. If not treated on time the infection can spread to dentin and internal pulp resulting in more decay and sometimes fracture in tooth. When the bacteria attacks the nerve root it causes pain which become sensitive to exposure of various condition like cold, heat or soft drinks. And further kept untreated the infection spreads more causing the death of pulp tissue and unbearable tooth pain. In highly progressed condition the infection can spread from tooth to surrounding tissues leading to more complications such as extraction of tooth. Hence it is highly recommended to take dentist advice as soon as you notice any symptoms of tooth infection.

How can you prevent tooth decay?

You can prevent tooth decay by taking care of simple tips at home and in progressed condition taking medical advice. Simple tips include:

Brushing regularly with fluoride containing toothpaste after eating and drinking.

When it is not possible to brush your teeth, try to rinse it with clean water to remove any food particles attach to teeth.

Daily flossing between teeth and gums.

Avoid food rich in sugar such as candies, cakes, cookies and sweets.

Visit your dentist regularly for dental check-up and teeth cleaning.

Therefore taking care of teeth is as important as taking care of other parts of your body. Healthier your teeth, healthier you look…



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