Tooth decay is permanently damaged areas to your teeth. If your teeth aren’t properly taken care of at home or with regular teeth cleanings, you can develop cavities from tooth decay. But how does tooth decay develop in the first place?
How Does Tooth Decay Develop?
Your mouth is forming bacteria from the foods and drinks that you consume and with your saliva every day. Although this bacteria is sometimes good, it can be harmful to your mouth in excess. When the bacteria lingers on your teeth, over time, it can create plaque and tartar that destroy your tooth enamel.
Tooth enamel is what protects the surface area of your teeth. But it doesn’t always hold up to everything. Bacteria are living, meaning that they eat, grow, move, reproduce, and produce waste. By feeding on the sugars in the foods you consume, bacteria can grow, which is the plaque we see on our teeth.
Certain foods that you consume can form acids that are harmful to your teeth. These acids fight against your enamel, breaking the surface of your teeth. They eat away at the minerals on your teeth’s enamel, causing them to weaken. Tooth decay develops from this process, creating holes and weakening your teeth. When you have tooth decay, there is no reversing the process. It is permanent.
How to Know if You Have Tooth Decay
Cavity and tooth decay develops over time when the acids on your teeth eat away at the enamel that protects them. At the very beginning of tooth decay, you most likely won’t show any symptoms. As tooth decay develops and gets larger, you might start noticing symptoms. Common symptoms of cavities are:
- Pain or toothache
- Tooth sensitivity
- Visible holes in your teeth
- Abnormal staining on any surface of your tooth
- Pain when drinking hot or cold substances
Although these symptoms can happen for reasons other than tooth decay, it is a good idea to visit your general dentist if you show signs of tooth decay. Although the process is not reversible, your dentist can provide a filling or sealant to stop the further growth of the decay.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
Certain foods create harmful bacterial acids because of a chemical compound reaction to sugars and starches. Brushing and flossing regularly can prevent these foods from forming acids that can break down your tooth enamel. Although this is the simplest way to prevent cavities, there are further steps you can take to prevent tooth decay.
Use the Proper Teeth Brushing Techniques
Not all tooth brushing is created equal. Brushing your teeth after meals and before bed is of utmost importance. Letting the food linger on your teeth over long periods of time is how bad bacteria can form, leading to tooth decay.
Remember to floss to prevent bacteria buildup in between your teeth.
Replace Your Toothbrush
The purpose of brushing is to prevent your teeth from having bacteria on them. By regularly replacing your toothbrush, you prevent your tool from containing bacteria. You also ensure that you have fresh bristles that are working properly to get hard-to-reach areas of your teeth. This should be replaced every three or four months.
Know Your Cavity Risk Level
If you really want to know how tooth decay develops, it’s dependent on your mouth. Your DNA, environment, and diet can affect how prone you might be to cavities. If your mouth looks like it’s taking a turn for the worst, your dentist will tell you. Your dentist can help you decide what you need to be doing in order to restore your maximum oral hygiene.
Treat Cavities Today at Lovett Dental Upper Kirby
If you show signs and symptoms of tooth decay, it is time to see your dentist. At Lovett Dental Upper Kirby, we make sure that our patients have the proper care to support their oral health. If you are looking for how to prevent tooth decay, our services include:
- Teeth cleaning
- Fluoride treatment options
- Tooth extractions
- Dental implants
- Root canals
- Dental crowns and bridges