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Tooth Decay

Consuming a variety of foods and drinks can feed the bacteria in our mouth which produce acid as a byproduct, this acid can slowly weaken and demineralise the structure and integrity of our teeth. As this process continues, it can result in cavity formation in our teeth, and with further cavity progression the tooth’s pulp (nerve) may be compromised. This demineralisation process of the teeth is typically known as tooth decay and is often frustrating to treat, hence prevention is more ideal.

Common symptoms of tooth decay:

  1. Tooth sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet foods and drinks.
  2. Visible dark, brown or black spots on the teeth
  3. Lingering toothache
  4. Bad taste or bad breath

Tooth decay is usually caused by a combination of persistent plaque on the surface of the teeth together with certain foods and drinks we consume. Foods that are high in carbohydrates can cause the bacteria on teeth to produce an acidic environment. This acid is what breaks down the surface layer of teeth, causing demineralisation and cavities in the tooth structure. Once the surface of our teeth (enamel) has been damaged, the plaque and bacteria can invade the inner layer of tooth structure (dentine) or even the innermost part of the tooth known as the tooth pulp.

One of the best ways to deal with tooth decay is prevention. Once the enamel has broken down and the tooth decay has reached the tooth’s inner dentine, it can be difficult to reverse and dental treatment is often needed.

Prevention involves healthy oral hygiene habits in addition to dietary considerations. Visiting your dentist every six months is a great preventative measure that helps to keep your mouth healthy and clean. Cutting down on sugary snacks and ensuring adequate oral hygiene are also important preventive measures.

When treating progressive tooth decay, a tooth-coloured dental filling is used to restore the tooth after removing the tooth decay and bacteria.

If tooth decay is left untreated, it can progress further and cause more complex issues for the tooth such as irritation of the tooth’s nerve (pulp) by the bacteria in tooth decay. Often progressive tooth decay is accompanied by symptoms such as lingering sensitivity, toothache or tooth infection (dental abscess).

If you’d like to learn more about tooth decay, methods of prevention and potential treatments, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for more information.

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