Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth and can occurs when bacteria in mouth produce acids that harm the tooth and develop into a hole on teeth, called cavities.
If tooth decay is not treated on time, it leads to toothache, infection and tooth loss.
Each tooth contains three layer as following:
- Enamel: is the hardest outermost layer
- Dentil: is middle layer
- Pulp: is innermost layer and contains living tissue (blood and nerves)
The more layers that are affected by decay, leads to worse damage.
Tooth decay is an epidemic, painful, costly and predictable diseases.
Tooth diseases which are vary from cavities to oral cancer, annually make many disability and pain for millions of American. Even the most painful tooth diseases are predictable. Tooth decay is a common worldwide disease, especially among kids. This disease begins from low age level, one in four kids aged from 2 to 5 and half of the 12-15 years old teenagers are affected by this disease. Children from low income family are more affected by this disease. Around half of the 6-19 years old kids from low income family have tooth decay. As well as pain and other inefficiency that contains by tooth decay, those tooth decay that are not treated can causes lose weight, poor appearance, school absence and other social interactions. The severity of these factors can effect on a kid’s achievement in his/her life.
Tooth cavity also is an issue among adults, while more than 90 percent of adults older than 40 years old are affected by this disease. One in four adults older than 60 years old are loosed all their teeth forever, and it causes due to the effect of tooth cavity on their self-esteem and engaging with nutrition problems (Their foods are limited to digestible food).
What is the reason of tooth decay?
Bacteria and foods can cause tooth decay. Plague, a sticky and clear substance, is creating continual on teeth and gums. It contains of bacteria which feeds of existing sugar in foodstuff.
Read certainly: How plaques are formed on teeth? and scaling.
As these bacteria are feed, they create an acid that destroy the tooth enamel and cusses tooth decay.
The following factors more likely causes tooth decay:
- Not brushing and regular flossing and not seeing a dentist to check up and clean the teeth.
- Eating foods that contains sugar and carbohydrate which feed mouth bacteria.
- Not getting enough fluoride that cusses tooth resistance against acids that are produced by dental plaque and preventing of tooth decay. This substance is added to many public water supplies.
- Shortage of saliva: saliva wash sugar and harmful foods and consequently prevent of tooth decay. Dry mouth can be caused by some diseases such as Xerostomia or Sjogren’s syndrome, taking certain medication and breathing through mouth. Older people are more affected by dray mouth.
- Having diabetes
- Smoking and using chewable drugs or breathing second-hand smoke.
Tooth decay depends on its extent and location in the mouth, it has different signs and symptoms. At the earlier stage of tooth decay, it doesn’t have any sign and as the decay gets larger some symptoms are revealed such as:
- Toothache, spontaneous pain without any reason,
- Tooth sensitivity
- Mild or sharp pain when eating sweet, hot or cold things
- Making visible hole or pits in teeth
- Making brown, black or with stain on tooth surface
- Feeling pain when biting down
When to see a dentist?
You may not be aware that cavities are formed. So regular dental checkup, even if you don’t have pain, is advised. However, if you feel mouth pain or toothache, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Everybody who has teeth is facing by risk of getting cavities but the following items increases risk:
Back teeth (molars and premolars) are more affecting by decay. These teeth have lots of grooves, pits and crannies, and multiple roots that can gather food particles. Consequently, back teeth are harder to keep clean than front teeth that are easy to reach.
Certain foods and drinks
Those foods that cling to teeth for a long time like: milk, honey, ice cream, sugar, cake, dried fruit, cookies, hard candy and mints, dry cereal and chips are more possible to cusses decay than those foods that easily washed away by saliva
Frequent snacking or sipping
When you regularly sip sweet drink, in fact you give mouth bacteria more fuel to make acids that harm your teeth and spoil them. If you drink sipping soda or the other acidic drinks, it causes to make an acid bath in your mouth.
Feeding babies in bedtime
If you give your babies bottles filled with milk, formula, juice or other sugar-containing liquids, these materials will remind on their teeth during bedtime and will feed bacteria. It called baby bottle tooth decay.
Insufficient brushing: If you don’t clean your teeth after each meal, plague will create and will begin first level of decay.
Not using fluoride: Fluoride is natural mineral that prevent of cavity and even remove the early stages of cavity. As fluoride has many benefits for teeth, it is added to many public water supplies and even use in toothpaste and mouth rinses. But mineral water bottles are not containing fluoride.
In United States, tooth cavity is common among kids and teenagers. Older people also are at high risk to get this disease. Through time maybe tooth destroy and gums lose, that cusses more possibility of root decay. Older people may use more medications that decrease saliva and increase the risk of tooth decay.
The reason of dry mouth is the lack of saliva. This substance prevents of cavity by washing plague and foodstuff away from teeth. Also saliva contains material that prevent of those acids that are produced by bacteria. Some medication, medical condition, radiation to your head or neck, or certain chemotherapy drugs can increase the risk of tooth cavity by decreasing saliva and drying mouth.
Worn filling or dental devices
During the years, dental filling can cause weakness, lose or make rough edges for teeth. It makes the possibility to create plague and make it difficult to remove. Dental devices also can cause decay due to not fitting well with teeth.
Heartburn: or gastroesophageal reflux disease can cause to fluid the gastric acid into mouth (reflux) and it remove tooth mineral and destroy large amount of teeth. This destruction exposes more parts of dentin to attack with bacteria and it causes tooth decay. Your dentist may suggest you to see a specialist for your gastroesophageal reflux.
Eating disorder: Anorexia and bulimia can lead to considerable tooth erosion and cavities. Gastric acid that is produced because of repeated vomiting, wash teeth and dissolve the tooth mineral. Eating disorder also can stop saliva production.
You can prevent of tooth decay by doing following items:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice a day
- Daily clean the space between teeth by tooth cleaners
- Eat nutritive food, balance meal and limit snacks
- Consult with your dentist about using supplement fluoride that reinforce tooth and using dental sealants.
Tooth sealants are plastic coating that generally placed on the surface of back teeth where most decay begin from that point.
Ask from the doctor