Tooth Decay: Let’s Talk Prevention

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is when the structure of a tooth is destroyed.  When plaque forms on a person’s teeth and combines with starches and sugars in the food we eat, decay sets in. To prevent decay from occurring, it is important to brush twice a day and floss daily. Some may not know it but if decay reaches the pulp of the tooth, a root canal may be necessary in order to save the tooth.
In addition, eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and sugary drinks are two  ways to prevent tooth decay. Of course, seeing your dentist twice a year and having a dental examination and cleaning, are other ways you can prevent decay. Tooth decay pictures show various stages of decay.

In most cases there are no symptoms of decay until a cavity or an infected tooth is noticed.  When this happens, a toothache is usually the most common symptom. Dental decay is often diagnosed by your dentist. Keep in mind, in some cases there are symptoms of decay such as toothache, bad breath, white, brown or black spots on the teeth, loose fillings or a broken or sensitive tooth. Tooth decay pictures show which teeth need dental fillings.  There are several treatment options for decay but treatment options depend on the severity of the decay. In some cases if the decay is minimal, fluoride may be the answer. If the cavity is mild, your dentist may put in a filling. However, if the decay is severe, a root canal or crown may be needed and in extreme cases, your dentist may have to remove the tooth.

Tooth Decay

Tooth Decay

Keep in mind those who are more likely to have decay are those who don’t brush their teeth twice a day or floss daily and those who eat a lot of foods that are high in sugar—especially sticky sugar such as cookies, caramel, and taffy. In addition, if there is a lack of fluoride in the public water supply, decay is more likely.  There are certain actions and inactions that increase a person’s risk of decay such as not brushing your teeth on a regular basis, not getting your teeth cleaned by a dentist or dental hygienist, lack of fluoride, smoking and drinking alcohol.  It is important to note that dry mouth is another reason why some people have more decay than others.  Most importantly, young people are more likely to have more  decay that older people because “minerals in new teeth are not stable” and acids are more likely to eat away at teeth. However, older people are also at risk because they may lose more gum tissue and be at risk for root cavities.  In addition, certain respiratory conditions can also cause decay. Diabetes also increases the risk of tooth decay; as well as medicines that contain sugar in them. Causes of tooth decay are many but with preventive measures, decay can be minimized.
To conclude, even though there are many causes of tooth decay, decay can be prevented by seeing your dentist several times a year, by brushing and flossing your teeth and by eating healthy foods.

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