Tooth decay is damage to the enamel of your teeth that progresses to deeper layers of the tooth, and eventually exposes the pulp of the tooth. Tooth decay, also known as a cavity, is caused by the bacteria in your mouth creating acid that eats away at your enamel. Untreated cavities can cause infection, extreme pain and the loss of a tooth. Deep cavities can cause pain once they reach the pulp of your teeth as they contain highly-sensitive blood vessels and nerves. Read on to learn the causes of tooth decay, and what you can do to prevent it.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Regular care is needed to keep teeth healthy. Tooth decay due to poor oral hygiene is avoidable. A good oral hygiene routine includes brushing your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing regularly, brushing your tongue, and using mouth wash. Set a little timer for yourself while you’re brushing to ensure that you brush your teeth for the full two minutes.
Deep Tooth Crevices and Enamel Issues
Deep tooth crevices allow bacteria to grow, and plaque to build up. Individuals with this condition are more likely to have problems with tooth decay. Dental sealants are typically used to prevent tooth decay in patients with deep tooth crevices. Dental sealant is a material placed in the pits and fissures to create a smooth surface that is easy to clean. A dental sealant is only safe for uninfected teeth for the prevention of tooth decay.
Sugary foods feed the bacteria in your mouth. That bacteria creates acid and damages your teeth. It’s important to avoid this acid. Sugar in juices, soda, and candy can damage your teeth. Many foods contain hidden sugars. Remember, any foods, or drinks that contain sugar can cause damage to your teeth.
Acidic Foods and Drinks
Many foods which people consume contain acid. Coffee, sodas, oranges, and pickles contain acid. All acidic agents cause tooth decay. Unlike the bacteria that cause decay, these acids coat the teeth immediately and begin to damage tooth enamel with their own acid. Drink coffee, and orange juice through a straw to avoid contact with your teeth. Eat acidic or sugary foods or drinks as part of a meal rather than on their own. Pro tip: Though brushing after a meal is generally a good idea, avoid brushing your teeth after consuming acidic foods. Acid softens your enamel, and brushing can speed up tooth wear.
Dry Mouth Issue
Saliva naturally protects teeth and gums. Due to the fact that saliva helps inhibit the growth of plaque, persons with dry mouth conditions will more than likely have dental issues which lead to tooth decay. Dry mouth may be caused by prescription medications, foods, or a medical condition, such as Diabetes. You dentist will work closely with you to prevent tooth decay or further tooth decay due to dry mouth issues.
Teeth grinding typically occurs when persons are asleep or when they’re under immense stress. Teeth grinding strips away the outer layer of tooth enamel. Teeth grinding is preventable with the use of a “bite guard,” also known as a “night guard,” and with the reduction of stress.
Regular dental visits, and cleanings can protect teeth and identify problems early to prevent them from becoming a larger, more expensive problems. If tooth decay exist I can be quickly to treated, and preventive measures can help to avoid future tooth decay. To find out more, or to set an appointment call us at 813-855-4269. Our team has years of experience and will provide you with expert advice and care for healthy teeth for life.