Causes and Prevention of Tooth Decay

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Dentists in Monroe and Ruston, LA » Blog » Causes and Prevention of Tooth Decay

Tooth-DecayTooth decay causes oral health problems like dental cavities, and it affects most Americans to some degree. Oral bacteria grow on top of teeth and coat them. Acids released by these bacteria are directly responsible for decay as the acids bore into the teeth. Tooth decay can cause painful sensitivity to things like heat, cold and sugar, and more severe cases lead to constant pain, infections and even tooth loss. However, minor damage usually goes unnoticed as pain only occurs once a cavity has formed. In order to find growing cavities, dentists use a probe to lightly press on a suspected cavity and a small amount of pain might be felt, confirming the cavity’s existence. This is a useful and safe method for quickly locating cavities.

Since tooth decay is normally a consequence of poor oral hygiene, the only surefire tooth decay prevention method is consistently keeping teeth clean. Regular brushing and flossing keeps bacteria off of teeth and prevents them from causing too much damage. While most of the cleaning done by brushing and flossing comes from the mechanical action of the toothbrush or floss scraping away bacteria, toothpaste can help polish teeth, and it deposits fluoride, which hardens teeth and makes them somewhat more resistant to decay. Oral bacteria thrive on sugar and grow more quickly in the mouths of those with a large amount of sugar in their diets. Simply eating and drinking less sugar is a very effective means of tooth decay prevention.

Full cavities generally need to be cleaned out and filled using a material that will plug the hole securely and is biologically inert. Severe cases may require the installation of a crown that covers the entire visible part of the tooth. If the decay has proceeded far enough, it may even be necessary to remove the entire tooth, which is an important reason to practice proper oral hygiene.

Having regular checkups and cleanings at dentists’ offices like Johnston Dental Care keep teeth well-maintained, and dentists are likely to find nascent cavities before they become too problematic and before more expensive and time-consuming procedures become necessary. Dentists look for evidence of tooth decay by using probes to check for cavities, taking X-ray images of teeth, and asking whether the patient feels any sensitivity to sugar or temperature.

If you are worried about a specific tooth in your mouth that you fear may have a cavity present, don’t wait another day, call us a Johnston Dental Care in Ruston, LA to examine it! Don’t let your tooth decay get too far, make an appointment with us today!

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