What Are The Causes And Stages Of Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay, also known as cavity or dental caries is a disease of the tooth, caused by leftover food particles in the mouth. The acidic bacteria change the fermentable carbohydrates into a harmful acid that washes away the minerals from the tooth. This acid demineralises the enamel, cementum and dentin, thus leading to dental caries or tooth decay. Lactobacillus and Streptococcus mutans are the two main groups of bacteria responsible for teeth decay.
Cause of Teeth Decay
Tooth decay is one of the most common ailments that can occur at any age. However, the cause of teeth decay is generally related to unregulated consumption of sweet foods, worn out tooth filling and poor dental hygiene. One form of tooth decay is the â€˜nursing cariesâ€™ that affects nursing infants who are nursed continuously with bottle milk, pacifiers and formula milk. Cause of teeth decay among young children and adolescents is due to unregulated diet and periodic snacking on junk food.
Different Stages of Tooth Decay
- Black spots on the surface or fissures of your teeth, sensitivity to cold or hot food and pain in the tooth are all signs of teeth decay. If you notice any of these signs then you should immediately consult your dentist.
- When decay is restricted to the enamel, it is the initial stage and will require preventive treatment to stop the decay from going deeper into the tooth. Your dentist may prescribe a simple filling which is usually painless.
- If decay has reached the dentin, you will experience pain after eating food or drinking cold water. Your dentist may have to numb the area around the tooth during treatment.
- If decay reaches the nerve, you will experience severe pain. Your dentist will advice a root canal treatment and may suggest a crown depending on the extent of your tooth decay.
- If the infection reaches to the jaw bone, you will experience inflammation, and the infection may spread through your face, mouth and even neck causing them to swell.
How to Identify Teeth Decay?
At first you may notice a tiny chalk like area which will then progress deeper into the tooth, eventually developing into a large cavity. As the cavity progresses deeper, it will begin to affect the nerves and the pulp, causing the tooth to become sensitive and leading to various other problems such as inflammation, pain and swelling. Not all dental caries are visible to the naked eye.
With the help of radiographs and lasers, dental caries and inter-proximal decay can be easily identified. The different areas in the mouth that are most likely to decay are fissures, gum line, pits, space between the teeth and teeth surfaces. At the first signs of tooth decay, get in touch with a dentist on and browse for in search or pages.
There are different stages of tooth decay that require different kinds of treatments. Depending upon the extent and cause of tooth decay, a dentist will suggest the right treatment. While teeth decay still in its early stage will require preventive treatment, tooth decay leading to jaw bone infection will require minor surgery.