It All Starts With Dental Plaque
Tooth decay can develop in teeth when two factors exist; bacteria that produce acids and food particles that feed this bacteria. It all starts with plaque. Plaque is the result of bacteria doing what they do best, consume food particles and multiplying. Teeth that are at risk for a dental cavity or further decaying typically have little to no fluoride barrier to protect tooth enamel from bacteria and plaque buildup.
Flouride that is found in most dental care products helps combat plaque. In-office fluoride treatments and fluoridated toothpaste can help kill bacteria and prevent tooth decay by reducing plaque buildup. This is why the key to avoiding tooth decay is preventing reducing plaque. You can do this by practicing a twice-daily oral care routine, brush your teeth, floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Poor oral hygiene allows plaque and tartar to progress in production around the teeth and gumline. Plaque production advances the growth of bacteria and the process of tooth decay.
Some Bacteria Is Good Bacteria
Not all bacteria are harmful though. Small amounts of bacteria keep intact a healthy ecosystem in the oral cavity. However, an abundance of bacteria in the mouth increases the likelihood of having the type of bacteria that causes tooth decay.
Active tooth decay can be stopped. To receive treatment for active tooth decay you will need to see a dental professional. There are no known at-home solutions for permanently stopping the process of tooth decay. Drs. Icard and Strein, dentist in Harrisburg NC, can treat active tooth decay and even offer solutions for inactive tooth decay. Request An Appointment
Tooth Decay And The Risk To Overall Health
Once the process of decaying has begun, it will progress slowly. It can go unnoticed for years to the naked eye. If bacteria penetrates the second layer of the tooth the process will advance rapidly until it reaches the pulp. This will trigger pain as bacteria come into contact with nerves.
At this point, tooth decay becomes an overall health risk. The risk comes as a result of bacteria that can make its way to the body’s blood supply.
Annual exams are essential as a preventative measure. Exams enable you to prevent it all together before real damage is done. Tooth decay can take up to 3 years but the progression from dentin to pulp is about 1 year.
Different Types Of Tooth Decay
During the decaying process, the tooth’s structure can be destroyed in a matter of a few months. Some decay is worse than others in the way they affect you.
Smooth decay is the most preventable type, it also progresses the slowest. It begins as white spots that may seem to become visible suddenly on the outer layer of the tooth. These white spots are a clear indication that bacteria is actively breaking down the tooth. This is a common condition that is experienced by adults.
A more serious form of tooth decay is Fissure or Pit decay. This type of decay forms along the chewing side of the molars. There is a more rapid progression in this form due to the grooves that exist on the tooth’s surface. These grooves can make it very difficult for a brush to reach. This type of decay is hard to prevent and requires both regular checkups, cleaning, flossing and even including mouthwash.
Root decay is the third and most serious form of tooth decay. It develops at the root of the tooth rather than the outer layer. This condition is much more common amongst middle-aged persons as a result of sugars and starches consumption, along with poor oral hygiene. This type of decay is difficult to prevent, cannot be treated with dental fillings and often result in tooth loss.