- Tooth decay is the destruction of the tooth enamel
- It is cause by bacteria that forms oral plaques that cover the teeth
- Tooth decay is prevalent in children
- Adults can suffer from tooth-root decay
- Older individuals can also suffer from tooth decay around the edges of their dental fillings
- Maintaining proper oral hygiene is the best way to avoid tooth decay
- Seeing your dentists for checkups and for dental cleaning is crucial for its prevention
Tooth decay is a huge problem among kids, teens, and adults. The destruction of the hard outer portion of the teeth enamel can cause severe pain. Tooth decay opens up the pulp within your teeth. This makes the core of your teeth susceptible to bacteria, and it can also make nerve endings within your teeth very susceptible to pain caused by changes in temperature.
The root cause of tooth decay is plaque. Dental plaques are films of bacteria that form on the surface of your teeth. While you eat or drink, the bacteria within the plaque will also begin to digest the sugars found in your food or beverage. These bacteria excrete acids as a by-product of the sugars that they consume. These acids are in constant contact with your teeth, causing your teeth enamel to break down over time.
Areas that have suffered from decay are known as cavities. Although it is more common among children, cavities also pose a serious risk among adults. Aging can cause the gums to recede; this exposes the roots of your teeth to gum disease and plaque. And because the roots of the teeth are protected by cementum, a softer tissue than enamel, this area is much more susceptible to tooth decay and sensitivity. This is also why people in their 50’s often suffer from tooth-root decay.
Older adults can also have tooth decay along the margins or edges of their fillings. Since many older individuals today were not able to receive the benefits of fluoride and modern dental techniques, a lot of them presently have numerous dental fillings. Over the years, fillings can weaken; this creates tiny cracks where bacteria can accumulate. Eventually, tooth decay will also be seen in these areas.
In order to avoid tooth decay, you can do the following:
- Brush twice a day and always use fluoride toothpaste during brushing
- Use an interdental cleaner or floss at least once a day
- Limit the intake of junk food and consume healthy, balanced meals
- See your dentist on a regular basis for checkups and dental cleaning procedures
- For added protection against tooth decay, talk to your dentist about supplemental fluoride and about dental sealants