One of the best features on a person is a mouth full of healthy white teeth. However, tooth decay can creep into the mouth and cause problems with the teeth. For example, the mouth is full of bacteria and this includes the bacteria found in plaque. Plaque is the thin, white and sticky film which constantly forms on the teeth. Certain food and drinks that contain sugars and carbohydrates can help produce a harmful plaque acid that helps to erode the formation of the teeth. People who don’t properly care for their teeth will develop a buildup of plaque which can lead to dental cavities, gum disease and tooth loss. Tooth decay can also be caused by insufficient fluoride usage, lack of saliva, diabetes and tobacco products.
The three layers of the tooth are the enamel, dentin and pulp and they are discussed below. There are also three types of tooth decay which can affect the different layers of the teeth:
Preventing tooth decay from occurring is as simple as brushing the teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste as well as flossing daily. Limiting sugary snacks and beverages along with eating nutritious meals can help cut back on plaque acids. Dental sealants can be used as a preventative when applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. Dental sealants are protective coatings made of a special plastic material that can protect the teeth from decay. Maintaining professional cleanings with a dentist twice a year helps the teeth stay in great shape. Patients experiencing toothaches, swelling in the gums or pain associated with hot or cold beverages and food should schedule an appointment with the dentist right away. Treating tooth decay in its early stages is highly recommended. The dentist can remove the decay, use a composite material to fill the hole and restore the tooth to its original shape. If the tooth has been badly damaged by the decay, a dental crown may be necessary. When the pulp has been damaged, treatment may include a root canal to remove the diseased pulp from the tooth. A severely damaged root may require the extraction of the tooth which can be replaced by a dental bridge or an implant.