The Ugly Truth About Tooth Decay and What to Do About It
Tooth decay by any name is, well…still something you should be concerned about. It’s an oral disease that’s intent on one thing:
Destroying your teeth!
No one is immune. Think of it like the flu or a seasonal cold – everyone is, on occasion, vulnerable to it.
In fact, it’s estimated that you, like 90 percent of the U.S. population, will have a dental cavity at some point in your life. Children and senior adults will face an increased risk.
The most feared outcome is tooth loss. Untreated decay that begins as a cavity can lead to the loss of your tooth.
It’s easy (and appropriate) to blame your diet for the beginnings of tooth decay. But there’s more to its progression than simply what you eat.
Blame oral bacteria. Dental plaque that is allowed to build up on your teeth harbors bacteria.
Plaque is a sticky substance that creates a film over your tooth surfaces. Bacteria thrives on the increased plaque and will produce acids when sugary food substances are present.
Dental plaque that’s not removed will harden into tartar. Further damage will occur when the tartar hardens beneath your gum line.
Here’s the “kicker” – your brushing routine is inadequate to remove the hardened plaque and tartar from your teeth and gums. The longer it remains there the more acid producing bacteria will attack and break down your tooth enamel.
The ultimate attack on your tooth enamel results in holes or openings (cavities) in your tooth surface. This is tooth decay.
The cure and treatment
Prior to seeking treatment you might notice that your teeth are sensitive or experiencing pain. This can reveal that the decay has progressed to the interior portion of your tooth.
For the most part tooth decay is painless. So don’t be surprised if a dental examination reveals that decay is present even though you might not feel discomfort.
This makes it vital that you stay current with your dental examinations and teeth cleanings. These preventive dentistry appointments along with x-rays can help spot the presence of decay and provide treatment prior to irreversible tooth damage or progressive oral disease.
Dental treatment can cure your tooth decay. A dental filling is a common procedure for a small cavity.
A dental crown can be used to treat a larger cavity caused by decay.
Your first priority is to maintain a consistent oral health routine at home. Brushing and flossing can dislodge and remove the early build-up of plaque and prevent bacteria from thriving on your tooth surfaces.
Watch your diet as well. Reducing your intake of sugar and starchy foods gives oral bacteria less to feed on.
Contact our Roswell dental office with your questions or concerns about tooth decay. Schedule your next dental examination and teeth cleaning to stay ahead of the progression of oral disease and tooth decay.