Overview of Tooth Decay:
Of the major problems, tooth decay is a major issue that two third of the population gets afflicted by. Tooth Decay is a problem that is mostly subjected due to poor and unhealthy lifestyle of people. Tooth decay can be caused due to several underlying factors that we mostly ignore due to hustle and bustle in our day to day life.
Before understanding how tooth decay is caused, let us understand what is tooth decay. Tooth decay is synonymous to dental cavities or dental caries. In a layman’s language tooth decay is the destruction of the outer surface of the tooth, also known as enamel.
Understanding the Causes of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is caused by several bacteria are can be found in the enamel of our tooth. The bacteria lives in sticky and white flim called plaque. Bacteria collect their food from sugar and starch from our diet. So when the bacteria eat food from our food they create an acid that attacks tooth enamel and thus causes tooth decay. That is why we are often asked by our dentist to brush our teeth once before sleeping. The acids that cause tooth demineralization commonly known as cavity formation are produced by specific types of bacteria. Bacterias like Mutans Streptococci and Lactobacilli live in dental plaque and are the reason for tooth decay.
The Science of Tooth Decay
You must be thinking why do the bacteria create acid and what is the logic behind its formation. Let’s understand the fact that bacteria are living organisms like us. When we consume food and beverage, we create our waste in the similar manner bacteria also gets food by utilizing sugars- sucrose, fructose, lactose, glucose or cooked starches. Their waste product is created after digesting sugars that get converted into acids like lactic acids that cause demineralization of tooth enamel and dentin
Demineralization and the Process of Tooth Decay
Let’s understand the concept of demineralization before moving unto how to prevent tooth decay. Since the bacteria. When we consume foods like candy, milk or soda, the bacteria who live in our mouth also ingest the food which contains sugar. Within few minutes of our food intake the bacteria get the same meal and start producing acids that causes tooth decay. Bacteria that are exposed to sugars or carbohydrates can make acid, which attacks the crystal-like substance on the tooth’s outer surface. This process is known as demineralization.
How to understand the Signs of Demineralization
The first sign of Demineralization is a chalky white spot. Mostly the bacteria start with the demineralization with the acid formation it begins within minutes of the bacteria receiving a sugary meal. It can take up to several hours for saliva to penetrate the layer of dental plaque and neutralize these acids.
Know how Demineralization and Tooth Decay can be Prevented
The decay process can be reversed easily. Using fluorides at home and in the dental office can help the tooth repair itself. If not treated appropriately and within time the process of demineralization continues and enamel starts to break down. Once the enamel surface is broken, the tooth can no longer repair itself. The cavity has to be cleaned and restored by a dentist.
If decay is left untreated, it will reach the tooth’s pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp becomes infected. An abscess (swelling) or a fistula can form in the soft tissues.
Cavity or Tooth Decay Prevention Suggestion
- Brush and floss after every meal or snack.
- Take the time to be thorough with your brushing and flossing. Those places that you don’t clean effectively are precisely the locations where cavities will be most likely to form.
Prevention is better than cure: Bottom Line of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a common problem and proper brushing and flossing and regular dental check-up is the best way to prevent this from happening in the first place.