Were you aware that tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood disease in the United States? Tooth decay destroys your tooth enamel, a hard and protective outer layer on your teeth. Tooth decay occurs many times when you consume foods high in sugar or carbohydrates because those sugars mix with bacteria that live in your mouth.
This mixture then creates acid, which eats away at the protective enamel on your teeth. This cycle of acid, bacteria, and decay continues until a hole or cavity is formed. Dental caries is one of the most prevalent dental problems, but it is also one of the simplest to avoid.
The Tooth Decay Process
Tooth decay is an infection that occurs in your mouth. This infection begins when you consume foods high in sugar or carbohydrates, mixing with the bacteria living naturally inside your mouth to create acid. This acid eats away at the protective enamel on your teeth and continues doing so until a hole or cavity is formed. Once this happens, the tooth decay advances to the inside of your tooth, causing pain and sometimes requiring a root canal.
Consequences of Tooth Decay
If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to a lot of problems. Cavities can get bigger and deeper over time, leading to pain and even infection, and a tooth abscess can form. If decay reaches the inner part of the tooth, it can damage the nerve tissue, leading to pain and even loss of the tooth.
Tips to Prevent Tooth Decay
Preventing cavities is not hard when you know how to do it. Making your dental health a priority is the key to maintaining a healthy smile free of cavities. Here are some tips to help you achieve a healthy smile for life!
Brush Your Teeth Twice A Day
The most essential thing you can do to avoid cavities is to brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day. Fluoridated toothpaste will help strengthen your teeth and protect them from decay. The best time to brush is when you first wake up and before bed.
Floss Your Teeth Every Day
It’s just as essential to floss your teeth as it is to brush them. Flossing helps remove dental plaque and bacteria between your teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Bacteria in your mouth can cause cavities, so it is important to floss every day.
Get Regular Dental Checkups
The best way to take care of your teeth and avoid tooth decay and cavities is to visit your dentist regularly. During your appointment, your dentist will inspect and clean any signs of deterioration from your teeth. They may also recommend getting a fluoride treatment or dental sealant to help protect your teeth from decay.
Reduce Sugary Foods and Consume A Balanced Diet
Eating a healthy diet and limiting how much sugar you eat are essential to preventing cavities. Bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars and create acid that can erode your teeth. Foods like fruits and vegetables are good for your body, but they also help clean plaque off your teeth when you eat them. It is also important to note that baby bottle tooth decay is common in young children, and limiting bottle usage at night can help deter cavities and decay.
Wear A Mouthguard to Protect Your Tooth Enamel
You are slowly wearing down your tooth enamel if you bring your teeth, leading to cavities. If you play sports or grind your teeth when you sleep, it is essential to wear a mouthguard. Wearing a mouthguard can help prevent injuries that could lead to tooth loss or decay if left untreated.
Get Regular Fluoride Treatments
Fluoride helps prevent cavities by protecting your tooth enamel from decay. You can get a fluoride treatment at your dentist’s office, or you can use toothpaste with fluoride at home to help strengthen your teeth and protect them against decay.
FAQs About Tooth Decay
Can tooth decay cause pain?
Tooth decay is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup on your teeth. The plaque produces acid, which eats away at the enamel, causing cavities to form in your mouth. If left untreated, these cavities can cause pain or even lead to tooth loss! You may also experience sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods due to how close these cavities are to the nerve endings.
What is the best way to stop tooth decay?
The best tip for preventing tooth decay and stopping it in its tracks is to practice good oral hygiene habits. You may preserve a healthy smile by brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and regularly visiting your dentist for check-ups and cleanings. You should also avoid sugary snacks and drinks and eat a healthy diet.
If I already have cavities, what can I do?
It is not too late to have cavities treated if you have cavities. You will need to go see your dentist and they will suggest the best treatment for you. They will usually suggest a filling, root canal, or tooth extraction. You may also experience sensitivity when eating hot and cold foods due to how close the cavities are to your nerve endings. It is best to treat them as soon as you notice them so that the damage is not too severe and your dentist can save the tooth.
Can tooth decay go away on its own?
Tooth decay does not go away on its own, but there are ways you can prevent it from getting worse! Tooth decay can lead to pain, cavities, and even tooth loss if left untreated. However, if you visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings and follow their recommendations, you can keep your teeth healthy and free from decay.
Contact Us For Preventative Care
Lake Jeanette Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry are here to help you keep your smile healthy and free from tooth decay. Contact us today at (336)-286-0200 to schedule a preventive care appointment. We offer fluoride treatments, dental sealants, and regular dental check-ups. Our staff will ensure you are taken care of and getting the dental treatments you need for optimal oral health.