Tooth decay is also known as dental caries. It is a common health problem that occurs when bacteria in your mouth produces acid, which dissolves the outer layers of the teeth. This usually leads to your teeth having cavities, and if left untreated for some time, it can deteriorate to severe pain, infection of the teeth, and ultimately, the loss of your teeth.
Despite huge strides that have been taken in the dental field over the last couple of decades, dental caries is still one of the most widespread dental health problems in the world. According to statistics, a large percentage of adults in the world suffer from tooth decay, and over 60% of school-going age children have dental cavities.
Dental decay is a gradual process, caused by acids produced by bacteria found within your mouth. These bacteria combine with food particles creating a sticky substance known as plaque, which then coats your teeth. Failure to remove the plaque provides the bacteria with a good hiding ground, where they can feed on the sugars found in the food you consume, producing acid as a by-product. The acid gradually breaks down your teeth’s outer surface and eventually reaches the inner soft layer, damaging it and leading to dental decay.
Tooth decay can affect anyone with natural teeth. However, the following are some of the factors that increase the risks.
Dental decay symptoms are usually not visible, until the condition reaches an advanced stage. At this point, you will experience symptoms such as:
Despite being a widespread problem, dental decay can be prevented. This is done by maintaining proper dental health. Here are some other tips that can help you achieve this:
For the people suffering from tooth decay, the good news is that treatment is available. You can acquire treatment by visiting your dentist the moment you discover you have dental decay. However, the type of treatment used is entirely dependent on the stage of the decay. If the decay is in the early stages, your dentist will likely recommend fluoride treatments and brushing of your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. A more advanced treatment may however be necessary if the decay has progressed too much. Some of the treatments available in such a situation include:
Dental decay might not be a life-threatening health problem, but it can still have negative effects on your life, especially the social part. You should thus take adequate measures to maintain your dental health. The information mentioned above can help you to prevent it, or discover it early enough before it worsens.