Dental cavities or tooth decay is not uncommon to people. Anyone can surely be affected with this oral health problem and it is particularly common to children and young adults as well. If this is left neglected, the tooth decay and the cavities may turn out to be infected and a breeding ground for bacteria eventually resulting into a tooth loss.
Knowing What Tooth Decay Is.
It all starts with a normal bacterium in one’s mouth. The bacteria would feed on the food that is left in your mouth and upon feeding to it, it would produce a debris in the form of an acid. A filmy substance called plaque would then be produced; this is a combination of bacteria, food debris, acid and saliva in the mouth. Usually, the plaque is formed 20 minutes after eating.
Plaque is usually removed through brushing and flossing but if it would not be removed from the mouth, it would eventually start the decaying process of the tooth. If it is still neglected, the plaque would eventually harden into a mineral-like substance that is called tartar, the bad thing about tartar is that it is harder to remove compared to plaque. These two things would contribute to the onset of gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis.
Not only gum diseases, but plaque build-up would also affect the surface of the teeth, most especially its protective covering, the enamel. The attack on the enamel would lead to the formation of cavities. Patients cannot feel the cavities at first however, if it is left untreated, it would become larger and would then compromise the blood vessels and most especially the different nerves surrounding the teeth that would give the shooting pain whenever the cavity is hit. If this is continually neglected, it would ultimately result into tooth loss.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Carbohydrates, which is comprised of starch an sugars, are the main culprits of the tooth decay and cavity formation. Substances or foods that are sticky would also promote formation of cavity because it is good breeding ground for bacterial accumulation. Moreover, people who snack a lot would more likely develop a higher risk of cavity formation because there is a plaque that is formed frequently.
There can be no denying that the usual affected individuals of both cavity and tooth decay are the young ones, however, we must not disregard the fact that adults can also be affected too. With age, gum diseases appear more often than tooth decay and damages occurring in the gums would highly expose the roots of the teeth to excess plaque, making them highly at risk for being affected with cavities too. Fillings would deteriorate over time thus allowing bacterial accumulation that would result into decay of tooth.
When Should Cavities Be Filled?
Usually during regular dental check-ups, cavities are found to be just small. Sometimes, dentists make use of x-ray machines in order to locate those that cannot be seen in the naked eyes. Possible cavities are hinted with increased sensitivity to sweet, hot, or cold drinks. If you notice a shooting pain whenever eating those kind of food, then it is best to immediately go to your dentist and have yourself checked.
If the cavity has been located already, you have several options as an intervention. First, you may want to have filling placed inside it so that it can cover the hole that is caused by the tooth decay.
You may also put a crown if there has been a great damage done to the tooth. This is for the purpose to reinforce it. The process would be that the damaged portion of the teeth is removed and the crown is placed above the remaining dental tissue.
If the decay has worsened and affected even the root of the tooth, root canal procedure is the only remedy left for this. Nerve tissue and blood vessels are removed with this procedure.
Taking Care Of Your Teeth
Maintaining a good oral hygiene is the only way to prevent yourself from developing a tooth decay and cavity. By brushing and flossing regularly, and seeing your dentist at least twice a year would be enough to suffice. If you start to feel sensitivity in your teeth, then you should make an appointment to your dentist already because the sooner that the decay is detected that easier that it is treated.