Everyone has natural bacteria in their mouths that is constantly forming plaque, but when we consume food and drinks, the bacteria feeds on sugar and turns into acid that attacks tooth enamel. Acid attacks can last up to 20 minutes, which means if sugar is consumed multiple times a day, then the teeth are constantly under attack. Over time, the acid destroys tooth enamel and leads to tooth decay.
Aside from consuming lots of sugar, there are other ways that people make themselves more susceptible to tooth decay. For example, not practicing good oral hygiene is a definite way to ensure tooth decay. Brushing the teeth twice daily and flossing at least once daily is necessary to remove excess food particles, bacteria, and plaque. When individuals fail to do so, bacteria constantly builds up and creates acids that keep the teeth under attack.
Not receiving enough fluoride is another way to eventually suffer from tooth decay. Fluoride makes the teeth more resistant to acids, which helps protect them from attacks. When individuals aren’t using dental products that contain fluoride or aren’t consuming water with fluoride, they’re more susceptible to attacks.
Dry mouth can also lead to tooth decay over time. If the mouth isn’t producing enough saliva to wash away food and sugar, then all of that bacteria has the opportunity to keep attacking the teeth until cavities form.
Children are more at risk of developing tooth decay than adults because the minerals in baby teeth are not strong. Therefore, it’s easier for bacteria to eat away at their enamel. Babies are also at risk, especially if they are put to bed with a bottle. The sugar in the milk can lead to tooth decay in their mouths even if they don’t have teeth yet. Also, adults can pass on their own bacteria to babies if they share spoons and forks with them.
Cavities and infected teeth are indications of tooth decay. Individuals suffering from this issue may experience toothaches, swollen gums near a sore tooth, bad breath, and white, gray, brown, or black spots all over their teeth.
Dentists often treat tooth decay with a tooth filling, a crown, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. Tooth fillings consist of removing the decay, filling the hole with special material, and restoring the tooth to its natural shape. Crowns are placed on those suffering from severe cases of tooth decay. Root canals are used if the decay infects the pulp. Lastly, tooth extractions are used to remove severely damaged teeth. After removing the tooth, dentists will replace it with a bridge or a dental implant.
At McBride Dental, our mission is to help our patients maintain healthy smiles for a lifetime. We offer preventative care services, such as dental exams, X-rays, and deep cleanings to prevent our patients from developing oral infections or decay. However, we offer treatment services for those who are, such as cavity fillings, gum disease treatment, and dental implants. If you are in the San Diego area and would like to schedule an appointment with us, call us today at (760) 471-1003.