Tooth decay also known as cavities is a breakdown of tooth due to acids made by bacteria during the decompsition of sugar in the mouth. If it is left untreated, a cavity or hole may occur. You can easily prevent tooth decay by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, seeing your dentist for teeth cleaning and checkups also, avoiding foods that are high in sugar.
Tooth decay doesn’t have to be an insurmountable problem for anyone. With just a little understanding of the basics of tooth decay formation, most people can easily put the issue of having cavities to rest.
Facts on Tooth Decay and Cavities
- Approximately 2.3 billion people (32% of the population) have dental caries in their permanent teeth.
The WHO estimates that nearly all adults have dental caries at some point in time.
In baby teeth it affects 620 million people or 9% of the population.
The disease is most common in the developed world due to greater simple sugar consumption and less common in the developing world.
Causes of Tooth Decay
The combination of bacteria and food causing tooth decay. A clear, sticky substance called plaque that contains bacteria is always forming on your teeth and gums. As the bacteria feed on sugars in the food you eat, they make acids. The acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating . Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay. Cavity and tooth decay to watch out for:
Poor oral hygiene: You make tooth decay more likely if you don’t brush your teeth twice a day in the morning and before bedtime.
Eating and Drinking: When you don’t floss your teeth each day you eat foods with alot of sugar in them. The longer a sugary foods stays on your teeth, the more the bacteria feed and make acids. Sticky, sweet and sugary foods such as raisins,cake, cookies etc causes the most damage.
Insufficient fluoride: Lack of fluoride in the public water supply also makes tooth decay more likely.
You can pass the bacteria that cause tooth decay to your baby. This can happen when you share spoons,forks and other utensils with the babies. The saliva you leave on the utensls contains the bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay usually does not cause symptoms until you have a cavity or infected tooth. When this occurs, symptoms include;
-Toothache which is the most common symptom. An infection or irritation of the tooth pulp usually causes the pain.
-Bad breath or foul taste in the mouth..
- A broken tooth or a tooth that is sensitive to pressure.
-The pain may increase when you eat food with high sugar.
- Severe tooth decay may cause a pus-filled sac (abscess) to form in the bone at the base of a tooth.
Symptoms of abscess Includes;
A swollen jaw
Deep, throbbing pain
Tooth Decay and Cavity Treatment
-Brushing and flossing with fluoride tooth paste and /or receiving fluoride treatments maybe enough to reverse early decay before cavities have formed.
-You need a filling if a cavity has formed. A filling is a material that plugs the cavity hole and restores a tooth to its original shape after your dentist has remove the decay.
- You may neeed a crown if the decay is severe and your tooth is badly damaged. A crown (often called a cap) is a man-made replacement for all or part of a tooth. Crown are also used to treat tooth that have broken or decayed so much that a filling wil not work.
You may need a root canal treatment if the pulp of your toot is infected. A root canaal removes the diseased pulp of a tooth.
Extraction of the tooth if the root of the tooth is severly damaged. You may need to replace the tooth with a bridge or animplant.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities
Limit the intake of sugary foods and drink.
Brush more often (adviceably Morning and Night)
Floss and rinse daily
Protect your teeth with fluoride
Visit your dentist for routine cleanings and examination.