Dental Decay: What Causes It?

Untreated dental decay can create unsightly blackish-brown spots on your teeth.  When this happens, most people try to hide their smiles.

Tooth decay is a very common disease. If left untreated, it can cause a hole in your tooth – commonly known as a cavity. If the cavity is left untreated, the decay can affect the nerve of the tooth causing great pain.

What Causes It?

To get a cavity, you need three things: a tooth, bacteria, and sugar. The bacteria and sugar form acid which eats through the layers of the tooth.  If the cavity is just starting in the outer layer of the tooth – the enamel – it can sometimes be reversed with fluoride treatments.

However, when the cavity breaks through the enamel and gets into the second layer of the tooth – the dentin – the decay needs to be removed and some kind of restoration needs to be placed. Often a simple filling is all that is needed. If the cavity is large, sometimes the tooth needs to be rebuilt with a cap or a crown.

If the decay travels all the way through the enamel and dentin and reaches the nerve chamber it can cause pain and swelling. At this point, a nerve treatment and a crown need to be done. If the decay is too extensive, sometimes the tooth needs to be extracted.

Who is At Risk?

The major reason for dental decay is the overconsumption of sugar but there are several risk factors that cause a person to develop this condition.

1. Improper Brushing and Flossing

The plaque which remains on your teeth after brushing and flossing can mix with the sugary foods in your diet and cause decay.

2. High Sugar Intake

Sugar is the main cause of dental decay. Drinking too much cola or sweet juices, eating cookies and candy every day is also not recommended. Bacteria present on your teeth mixes with the sugary foods in your diet to form acid. The acid eats through the teeth to form cavities.

3. Toothpaste Choice

Fluoride is the main element which helps in keeping your teeth healthy. It is essential that your toothpaste must have an adequate amount of fluoride for maintaining healthy teeth.  Look for a toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.

Dental decay is preventable but if you are already suffering from this condition, you don’t need to worry. Your dentist can suggest different treatments for your teeth. If you don’t have a dentist, you can click here and have a look at our skilled panel of dentists.

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