Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health problems today. But how does tooth decay develop? And how can you prevent tooth decay? These are important questions to ask. Lovett Dental Pasadena can provide you with the answers you need.
What Is Tooth Decay?
You probably know what a dental cavity is. It’s a hole in your tooth and often leads to a painful toothache. However, you may be surprised to learn that tooth decay caused that hole in your tooth. Tooth decay is a slow process that causes cavities as well as other dental issues. But it is possible to stop tooth decay, even reverse it, and avoid getting any cavities.
How Does Tooth Decay Develop?
Your mouth is full of bacteria. They are on your tongue, teeth, gums, and all other parts of the mouth. While some kinds of bacteria may be helpful, others are extremely harmful and can cause tooth decay.
Acid Attacks Damages the Tooth’s Enamel
The easiest explanation of how tooth decay develops is that it is a result of infection. Some types of bacteria that utilize sugars cause this infection by creating acids that destroy minerals. As time goes by, those acids slowly destroy the enamel, or the hard outer surface, of your tooth. The bacteria, sugar, and acids are one part of the process that goes on inside your mouth. The other part involves the minerals- phosphate and calcium – in your saliva and the fluoride in your toothpaste, mouthwash, and water. These minerals help your teeth repair from damage caused by acid, effectively replacing your teeth’s lost minerals.
Repeated Cycles of Acid Exposure Leads to Tooth Decay
Repeated cycles of your teeth exposed to acid can make its enamel lose more minerals. Soon, your teeth will show signs of decay, such as a white spot where the minerals were lost. This is a sign of early decay, which you might still be able to reverse or stop.
The enamel could still repair itself using the minerals of your saliva and the additional help of fluoride from toothpaste. But if you continue to consume sugary drinks without taking care of your oral health, your tooth decay will continue until you need a filling to repair the damage.
Tooth decay is a preventable process by eating a healthy diet and by proper oral health care. These factors can give you a naturally beautiful smile without the need for cosmetic dentistry.
Tooth Decay Prevention Tips
So now you know the answer to “how does tooth decay develop?” The next important step is practicing tooth decay prevention tips, such as:
- Brushing teeth with a toothpaste containing fluoride, at least twice a day
- Cleaning your teeth with an interdental cleaner or dental floss daily
- Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash with fluoride daily
- Getting dental sealants to protect your teeth from decay
- Asking your doctor about supplemental fluoride
- Getting regular dental exams and professional cleanings
Call Your Dentist at Lovett Dental Pasadena to Keep Teeth Clean and Healthy
What if you already have tooth decay? In that case, head to your dentist as soon as you can. Dental experts can help you get rid of plaque and keep your teeth from further damage. Dental services that can keep your mouth healthy and bright include:
- Regular dental exams
- Professional teeth cleaning
- Root canals
- Composite fillings
You can also receive general dental services, periodontics, and cosmetic dentistry to restore your smile. So if you want to know more about ‘how does tooth decay develop,’ visit Lovett Dental Pasadena today, or call 281.336.8068 to book your next appointment!