Tooth Decay

How Tooth Decay Comes About

Tooth decay is a prevalent situation in our society, it especially affects young children. We have witnessed through the last few decades, the number of incidence has greatly improved due to the public education program as well as widespread preventive measures.

Tooth decay is a phenomenon brought about through the demineralization and destruction of dental enamel (the hard layer on top of the tooth), caused by acid substances produced by dental-plaque bacteria. These bacteria, reside within our mouth, would deposit onto leftover food which was stuck to the teeth and manufacture acid from carbohydrates and sugars that are inherent in these food residues.

This acid produced is the major culprit of the first stage demineralization and destruction of the tooth enamel, the process is then followed by the destruction of the dentin (the inner hard layer of the tooth) and the formation of a cavity which, in more serious cases, would typically involve the dental pulp (the sensitive, soft tissue where the blood vessels and nerves to the tooth congregate) and introduce severe pain. The likely results of tooth decay would invariably involve tooth loss, tooth abscesses, chewing problems and serious, even life-threatening infections.

Tooth and Cavity

Dentist often base their choice of tooth decay treatment on the extent of the cavity. In situation where the cavity has just started to form (described as the least severe situations) tool enamel can be effectively restored through a professional fluoride solution. Nevertheless, a simple fluoride treatment would be inadequate when the cavity becomes more severe, it may then be necessary to call on other treatment options like tooth fillings, dental crowns, root canals and even tooth extractions – all represent a better alternative.

Even though tooth decay is considered to be treatable, it is important to note that prevention still the key in order to ensure optimum dental health and it is no doubt a more cost effective option to deal with tooth decay.

The three preventive measures concerning tooth decay:

  1. Reinforcing tooth structure
  2. Limiting sugar intake
  3. Practicing a good oral hygiene

Our tooth structure (especially that of the dental enamel) can be easily and effectively reinforced with the application of medicated toothpastes (or those that include fluoride), which provide the surface of the teeth with excellent protection against acid attack and demineralization. Cutting down on refined sugars (for example those easily found in sugary beverages, sweets, candies and chocolate) consumption is your best bet to curtail acid formation by mouth bacteria, for simple reason that acids are just the result of bacteria sugar metabolism. Last but not least, maintaining a good oral hygiene would rid of any dental plaque. A habit of good oral hygiene would involve brushing teeth after meals and for a couple of times each day, use daily dental floss or interdental cleaners and make a practice to visit your dentist regularly.

It is important to note that dentistry procedures often do not come cheap and each consultation with your dentist costs money. For this reason, more and more people have invested on appropriate international health insurance plans to help defray the cost and you should do the same.