Tooth decay is a problem which affects a lot of people. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research concluded that 91% of American adults age 20 to 64 have had dental caries in their permanent teeth and 27% of them have untreated decay. This conclusion was reached after analyzing data which were drawn from the 2011-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The new findings show an update from data included in the 1999-2004 NHANES study. This previous report found that 92%of adults have cavities in permanent teeth and 26% had untreated decay. However this data is pretty worrying.
Let‘s find together what cause dental cavity, how can we avoid it and which are the solution for this oral health problem.
Tooth decay is damage that occurs when bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth called cavity. If it is not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection and finally tooth loss. You must know that there are some helpful bacteria in our mouth, but some can be really harmful. We are talking about those that play a role in the tooth decay process.
The bacteria in our mouths use the sugar in the food we eat to produce acids, which attack the tooth enamel. The minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate) and the fluoride from toothpaste and from the other sources help enamel repair itself. But if we continue to eat and drink, especially foods or drinks rich in sugar, the minerals will not be able to stop these acid attacks and the enamel is weakened or destroyed, forming a cavity. This is when the dentist’s help is required.
There are some symptoms that indicate you have a cavity. If you find yourself in one of these situations, make an appointment with Dr. Arhiri. He will find the best solution for you and your teeth.
- You have a toothache
- You have swelling in your gums near a sore tooth
- You have a bad breath or a bad taste in your mouth
- You notice white, grey, brown or black spots on your teeth
Cavities may need one of these treatments, depending on the damage on your tooth:
- A filling can be used after removing the decay from a tooth. The hole is filled and the tooth is restored to its original shape
- A crown, if the tooth is really damaged and the hole is too big
- A root canal, if the pulp of your tooth is infected
- The extraction of the tooth if the damage is so severe that it can’t be saved
What is great is that there are some tips for preventing tooth decay:
- Brush your teeth twice a day, minimum two minutes. Do not forget to floss
- Don’t snack before bedtime. Food left on the teeth overnight will cause cavity
- Avoid foods that have a lot of sugar, avoid sticky foods
- See your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups. By doing this, your dental problems will be discovered in time, before becoming more serious.
Let’s see now some surprising facts about tooth decay:
- Even healthy food can lead to tooth decay. Because acid produced by bacteria in our mouth is the cause of cavities. Any carb or sugar can start an acid attack. If you can’t brush your teeth after your meal, at least rinse your mouth with water
- The more snacks do you have, the more cavities will you get. This is because sweet or high-carb foods and drinks feed the germs that cause decay. After eating, these germs make acid. The acid attack teeth for 20 minutes destroying the enamel. And this is how cavity appears
- Kids do not get more cavities than adults. Adults can also get cavities
- It is possible not to know that you have a tooth decay, until it is too late. So regular check-ups are more than welcome
- Once you had a filling on a tooth, that does not mean the decay stops. It can develop next to the feeling or around it, if you do not take care of your tooth As a conclusion, cavity is a problem that affects a lot of people, no matter the age. It can be prevented, by brushing twice a day, flossing and doing regular visits to your dentist. If you think that you may have a cavity or if you need more information related to this topic, do not hesitate to contact Premier Smiles. Dr. Arhiri and his staff will be happy to help you. You can find us at 610.647.7611. Call today to make an appointment.