Your oral health is important to your overall wellbeing. Tooth decay can lead to tooth loss as well as inflammation, infection, and damage to the heart and brain. It’s vital to do whatever it takes to avoid it, but how does tooth decay develop? Knowing this can empower you to protect your smile with at home techniques as well as general dentistry exams.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay occurs when there is a breakdown of the exterior protective walls of your teeth. This can happen for many reasons. Most of the time, it occurs because of an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth that causes plaque to form on the teeth. The bacteria will build up and eat into the tooth. It can also occur if you eat a lot of highly acidic foods. These acids – found in everything from soda and coffee to tomatoes and citrus – damage the tooth’s enamel.
How Does Tooth Decay Develop from This?
If you have a high level of bacteria or the presence of acids on your teeth for long periods of time, it will cause a breakdown of the exterior surfaces. The process can be seen as follows:
- White spots and small holes form on the enamel.
- As the enamel breaks down, the dentin within becomes exposed to bacteria and acids.
- The dentin, which is softer than the enamel, begins to break down, causing exposure to the pulp.
- The pulp is the tissues and nerves of the tooth. When bacteria invade this area, it causes inflammation and significant pain that often requires the help of advanced periodontics.
- As this occurs, the bacteria can kill the tooth root, often leading to the need for impacted tooth extraction.
At any point in this process, there are steps you can take to prevent the onset of damage to your teeth. Tooth decay occurs at a rapid pace when you are not using proper oral hygiene methods or when you do not come in to see your dental care provider at least one time every six months.
Tips for Reducing Your Oral Health Risks
How does tooth decay develop? It can seem confusing, but prevention is always the best way to deal with tooth decay. As noted, tooth decay is something you want to avoid as much as possible. To do that, you need to be proactive. That means practicing the following preventive measures:
- Reducing the number of bacteria present through good brushing and flossing.
- Getting routine dental cleanings to minimize the buildup of plaque.
- Reducing the amount of sugar-based foods you consume since sugar feeds bacteria.
- Limit the amount of acidic foods you consume or immediately brush your teeth after eating or drinking.
- Use dental sealant protection on your teeth to minimize access.
Coming in to see your dentist is the first thing you should do. When you are aggressive to prevent tooth decay in this manner, you’re able to keep the amount of bad bacteria present at bay. You also get help as soon as possible for any damage that occurs by protecting exposed teeth with dental fillings. That means reducing the ability of bacteria and plaque from invading deeper into your teeth and causing more damage.
Your First Step Is Routine Visits to Lovett Dental Sugar Land
Tooth decay is a serious problem, but one you can avoid. How does tooth decay develop if you are getting routine dental cleanings? Even if you visit the dentist regularly, skipping crucial oral hygiene habits at home can allow tooth decay to develop. To get started on healthy habits, contact Lovett Dental Sugar Land at 281-759-5900 to learn more about the preventive dentistry treatment options available to you.