What Is Tooth Decay and What Can I Do About it?
Posted on 28th July 2022 at 01:42
You’ll likely have heard of tooth decay, but do you know what it is? The primary cause of tooth decay is how often you eat or drink sugar. The likelihood of decay is also affected by factors like poor oral hygiene, skipping the dentist, and a poor diet. The amount and quality of saliva you make also affects your risk of decay.
Thankfully, dental decay is avoidable, especially with the products and tools available on the market today. Using dental aids such as interdental brushes (for example TePe brushes) and an electric toothbrush can significantly reduce your chances of developing decay. Meanwhile, regular visits to the dentist and hygienist allow for decay to be picked up at the earliest possible stage. In many cases, this renders treatment far easier to carry out. Here at Park Dental Care, we can also offer advice on how to amend your diet so that attacks on your teeth become less frequent.
What are the 5 stages of tooth decay?
Initial demineralisation: this is when your tooth’s protective coating (enamel) begins to lose its essential minerals as a result of exposure to acids produced by plaque. You might notice white spots on your teeth, indicating the early stages of decay.
Enamel decay: The white spots will begin to turn to a brownish colour at this stage. Your enamel is weakened, and cavities will begin to form; these will need to be filled.
Dentin decay: Dentin is the tissue located underneath your tooth’s enamel layer. As it’s softer, it’s more vulnerable to acid damage, which means decay will accelerate when it affects dentin. You might find you’re suffering from sensitivity if you have developed dentin decay.
Pulp damage: This is when the nerves at the centre of your tooth become compromised, swelling and leading to pain.
Abscess: This is the stage you absolutely do not wish to reach. Advanced inflammation can lead to pus forming, creating an abscess at the bottom of the compromised tooth. This will need immediate attention, as the infection can affect other parts of the body, such as your heart and circulatory system. The tooth may even need to be removed.
What can I do about tooth decay?
Prevention is at the heart of keeping decay at bay. Using fluoride toothpaste can help rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverse the early signs of decay, offering a topical benefit to your teeth. Making sure you TePe or floss to remove lodged food particles will also lower your decay risk, whilst avoiding sugary foods is the most important step.
If you come in to see us for your routine dentist appointment and we find signs of decay, we may be able to address this with an amalgam or white (composite) filling. If it has reached a more advanced stage, we can perform root canal treatment to clean out the infected tissue at the heart of the tooth in question.
Contact Park Dental Care for excellent restorative clinical care
We’ve been performing treatment to resolve decayed teeth for over 20 years. However complex your case, we can help to restore your decayed tooth, reversing unpleasant symptoms and improving the health of your smile.
Contact us to book your appointment here in Nottingham today.
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