By learning what causes Tooth Decay you will be able to aviod it!
Tooth decay is a threat to anyone who has teeth.
Did you know that 90% of Americans have at least one cavity, and that two-thirds of our population had their first cavity by age five?
Below are some of the common tooth decay causes.
Symptoms of Tooth Decay
Natural bacteria lives in your mouth on the surface of your teeth. It feeds on sugar and food debris, and creates an acid called plaque that eats away at a tooth’s enamel. When a weakened spot eventually rots away, it causes pain. Saliva washes away the food particle and bacteria. Hence, frequent snacking means bacteria is almost always in your mouth(1. The longer the plaque stays on your teeth, the harder and stronger it becomes and the faster the rate of deterioration occurs.
It can also be sensitive to hot and/or cold foods, or to sweets. Your dentist will examine all of your teeth, poking and prodding with his tool as he looks for weak spots in the enamel.
When the dentist finds a cavity, he will remove all the rot with a drill. He will then fill the hole with a metal amalgam or a tooth-colored composite resin. If the rot extended beneath the gumline and harmed the roots or nerve, a root canal may be necessary.
How to Prevent Tooth Decay
The cheapest way to deal with tooth decay is to prevent it in the first place. Fluoride is a chemical compound found in the bones and teeth. It aids in reducing decay by combining with minerals and forming hard tooth enamel. That is why it is very important to get enough fluoride from very early in life when your teeth are just forming. Many communities add fluoride to their municipal tap water, and a doctor can prescribe liquid vitamins with fluoride to babies.
Brushing and flossing after every meal is the best way to prevent plaque from forming and causing decay. Unfortunately, it is not practical for most people. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once as a minimum.
One thing most people forget about is the bacteria on their tongue. The minute one finishes brushing and closes their mouth, bacteria on the tongue jump right back on the teeth. That’s why brushing the tongue is so important.
You can also buy a tongue scraper and drag it over the tongue surface. If brushing or scraping the tongue causes a gag reflex you can’t handle, you can use a mouth rinse that will kill the bacteria.
Twice-a-year dental checkups are also important in the fight against tooth decay. The hygienist can deep clean tartar in areas of your mouth that are hard to reach, and a current x-ray can allow a dentist to detect tooth decay not yet visible to the naked eye.
A component often overlooked in the fight to prevent tooth decay is vitamins. Vitamin B6 promotes good bacteria and wipes out the bad, and Vitamin C is an antioxidant that strengthens the gums. Also getting enoughVitamin D can helps prevent Tooth Decay(2).
The first step towards the lifetime goal of healthy teeth is making children develop the right habits at a very young age: brush and floss their teeth as often as possible, brush their tongue, eat healthy and supplement their food with vitamins and fluoride, and see the dentist regularly. Prevention is an easy habit that is cheap in time and money.
Remember, once a tooth starts to decay, it will not go away on its own like a cold. The only cure for tooth decay is a trip to your dentist.