By 4 Dental Health
November 25, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tooth decay is the process that results in a cavity (dental caries), and occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection and potential tooth loss. No one wants to lose a tooth, or even experience a cavity. Luckily, tooth decay is easily preventable by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, visiting 4 Dental Health and Dr. Steven Christensen for teeth cleaning and checkups, and avoiding foods that are high in sugar.
Dr. Christensen Shares the Causes and Symptoms of Tooth Decay
The combination of bacteria and food causes tooth decay. When food is not properly removed from your teeth a clear, sticky substance called plaque that contains bacteria is always forming on your teeth and gums. As the bacteria feed on the sugars in the food that you eat, they make acids, which attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.
Typically, tooth decay does not cause any symptoms until you have a cavity or an infected tooth. When this occurs, a toothache is the most common symptom experienced. As a general and cosmetic dentist in Layton, Dr. Christensen diagnoses tooth decay by:
- Asking questions about your past dental and medical problems
- Examining your teeth
- Taking x-rays of your teeth and mouth
The Types and Stages of Tooth Decay
Young children can develop baby bottle tooth decay, or early childhood caries, which destroys enamel quickly. This type of decay is common in children who are put to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The bottle exposes the teeth constantly to carbohydrates through the night. Bacteria then rapidly grow, producing acid that decay teeth. If a parent does not clean the child’s teeth properly, decay can worsen.
In older adults, the exposed roots of teeth can develop cavities. Older adults are more likely to have receding gums caused by years of hard brushing or periodontal disease. Additionally, older adults are also more prone to have dry mouth, which provides less protection of the teeth due to a decrease in saliva production.
Decay can form beneath fillings, or other tooth repairs, such as crowns. Sometimes bacteria and bits of food can slip between the tooth and a poorly placed filling or crown. This also can happen if the filling cracks or pulls away from the tooth, leaving a gap.
Listen to Your Layton, UT Dentist and Begin Prevention Measures, Now
You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips provided by the American Dental Association (ADA):
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth daily with floss
- Eat nutritious and well-balanced meals
- Limit snacking
- Check with Dr. Steven Christensen about the use of supplemental fluoride to strengthen your teeth, and about dental sealants to protect chewing surfaces
- Visit 4 Dental Health regularly for professional cleanings and oral examinations
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Steven Christensen, our dentist serving Layton, at 4 Dental Health today for further examination of your teeth. With regular cleanings and examinations, you can help prevent tooth decay with the help of your dentist.