Causes of tooth decay

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Growing up, tooth decay seemed to be an empty threat that was anything but real and tangible in our minds – we paid some attention but for the most part, it went over our heads. The same can be said for many in adult life because tooth decay doesn’t get the attention it warrants. Sadly, tooth decay is very much a real concern and scenario we should all actively seek to avoid. This is because while rare, a dental abscess can be fatal. If left unattended, the infection can spread to the heart and brain, but can also cause swelling that ultimately cuts off your airways.

The most important thing to do to combat tooth decay is to equip yourself with the knowledge of how best to avoid it by understanding what causes tooth decay.

What is Tooth Decay?

Also known as a cavity or cavities, tooth decay occurs when bacteria that resides in your mouth makes acid that ultimately erodes your teeth. If left to persist, it can cause infection.

Tooth Decay Causes

  • Poor Oral Hygiene – Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day, flossing, brushing your tongue, and not using mouth wash can put you at risk of tooth decay.
  • Improper Nutrition – Foods that are high in sugar, carbohydrates, or acid will help foster an environment where tooth decay will occur.
  • Dry Mouth – Saliva is an important agent in the prevention of tooth decay as it washes away the bacteria. Though sometimes genetic, a side effect of medication or medical conditions, dry mouth is also a cause of tooth decay and cavities.
  • Tooth Grinding – Though not always a conscious habit, the grinding of teeth strips away protective enamel which exposes your teeth to tooth decay.

Signs of Tooth Decay

Equally as important as the ability to avoid the causes, one should also be able to identify tooth decay to ensure that it isn’t given the time to fester and worsen. The following are signs of tooth decay:

  • Pain – A toothache is often a sign of tooth decay.
  • Pressure – If you experience pain when biting down or an increased feeling of sensitivity to chewing you may have a cavity.
  • Holes – In many cases, a cavity will create a noticeable hole in the affected tooth. Sometimes the holes are only visible on a dental x-ray.
  • Pus – A severe and unmistakable sign of a cavity is pus around a tooth.

Don’t Wait

If you’ve noticed any of the above signs in one or more of your teeth, you need to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible, before the situation gets worse. At Fremantle Dental Care, we’re equipped with the knowledge, expertise, and technology to assist in repairing and avoiding future decay of your teeth.