Tooth decay refers to the softening of your teeth’s enamel which is caused by bacteria and plaque build-up. Bacteria releases an enzyme that works to break down the structural integrity of your teeth. This can lead to your tooth enamel becoming damaged and can cause cavities. This decay will likely worsen over time, and may result in more advanced tooth decay, which may require more serious treatments. Without treatment, the damage can be so severe that it can ruin the entire tooth.
What Is A Cavity?
A cavity is a hole or imperfection in a tooth’s enamel that was caused by decay. These can be found in the smooth sides of the tooth, or on the surface of the tooth, causing a root cavity. Root cavities expose the roots of your teeth and allow food or drink to come in contact with the sensitive nerves. This can make eating or drinking painful, especially if they are hot or cold.
What Causes Cavities and Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay can occur for several reasons. The major cause of tooth decay is sugary, sticky foods that are not cleaned from between your teeth properly. The more sugar stuck in your teeth, the more it can cause the eventual breakdown and decay of your teeth. Without treatment, you can develop cavities that become worse. It is essential to understand what happens to your teeth when you eat these types of foods to prevent tooth decay.
Cavity and tooth decay cause to look out for:
- Poor oral hygiene: having poor oral hygiene, in general, allows plaque to regularly build up and cause damage to tooth enamel.
- Plaque formation: when plaque is not removed and can build up over time, it has a high change to adhere to your teeth and cause cavities.
- Dry mouth: saliva helps to wash away plaque and bacteria in the mouth. If you have a dry mouth, this allows tooth bacteria to build up more quickly.
- Eating and drinking: eating sugary foods is the leading cause of cavities and tooth decay.
- Plaque bacteria and acid: it is natural to have bacteria in the mouth, and when these bacteria break down carbohydrates stuck between the teeth, they cause acid to form, which can break down your teeth.
With these causes in mind, you can understand where cavities and tooth decay come from. You should get into the habit of brushing, flossing, and using a mouthwash with fluoride to keep cavities at bay. You can also watch out for areas of oral health that might be lacking in your own routine. And try and stay away from any sugary and sticky foods as much as possible!
You should schedule regular appointments with your dentist here at Roseland Family Dental to check for cavities and assess your overall oral health at least twice a year! Getting regular check-ups is key to treating and preventing major tooth decay. If you have any questions about tooth decay and cavities, contact us today!