Your teeth are one of the most noticeable traits people see. However, maintaining that bright white smile is not as easy as you think. For most people, tooth decay has become an oral issue that they must battle at least once in their lifetime.
Tooth decay is the progressive damage of your tooth’s surface or enamel. Over time, your enamel gets attacked and eroded, damaging your teeth. If tooth decay remains untreated, it can lead to infections, severe pain, and tooth loss.
However, there are a lot of things that you might not know about tooth decay. This article looks at some facts about tooth decay to improve your dental health.
Eight Facts About Tooth Decay
1. Plaque And High Acidic Levels Are Responsible for Tooth Decay
A common myth that floats around is that sugar is the only thing that causes tooth decay. However, this is not too far-fetched.
The main reason for tooth decay is plaque buildup and high acidic levels in your mouth. Plaque is a sticky film coating made up of food debris, saliva, and bacteria. When plaque coats your teeth, bacteria release acids as they eat away food particles, which erode your enamel.
Eating or drinking sugar-rich foods and beverages increases the acidic levels in your mouth. In addition, high acidic levels also dissolve most minerals in your enamel, making it weak and increasing your chances of tooth decay.
Regular brushing and flossing are good ways to prevent plaque buildup. Likewise, gargling water after every meal or sugary drink washes out leftover food debris and reduces acidic levels in the mouth.
2. Tooth Decay Is the Most Common Disease
Did you know that tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dental caries or tooth decay is the most prevalent noncommunicable disease.
A recent National Institute of Health (NIH) study shows that tooth decay affects more than 90% of the U.S. population over 64 years. In addition, about 5% of the people aged between 20 and 65 have lost their teeth due to dental caries.
3. Anyone Can Get Tooth Decay
Another myth that goes around is that tooth decay only affects children. Though tooth decay affects everyone, children are more susceptible to cavities.
One of the reasons why tooth decay is common in children is due to the increased number of acid-producing bacteria in their mouths. These bacteria are often transferable through saliva, which can start colonizing the mouth, leading to tooth decay.
However, there are a lot of factors that affect who and when people get tooth decay. You might not realize it, but genetics play a crucial role in determining your risk of dental caries. Enamel defects are hereditary dental traits that can affect your teeth’ strength and effectiveness in fighting off infections.
A visit to All About Smile Dental Group will help you get to the root of your tooth decay problem.
4. Tooth Decay Can Affect More Than Your Dental Health
You are wrong if you think that tooth decay only affects your mouth. When your tooth gets eroded, it can introduce bacteria to your gums, leading to gum disease.
In addition, if the infection is not treated in time, it can get into your jaw and spread throughout the bloodstream. Studies have shown that unmanaged gum diseases cause cardiovascular, lung, and sinus infections.
Some of the most common symptoms of tooth infections spreading to your body include:
- Increased heart rate
- Skin flushes
- Darker urine
If you notice these signs, talk to your physician as soon as possible.
5. Cavities Are More Likely To Occur Between Your Teeth
The shape and spacing of your teeth play a crucial role in your oral health. Food debris can easily get stuck between the tiny spaces of your teeth.
Though brushing is an excellent way to clean your teeth, you do not always remove the hiding particles. That is why cavities are more likely to start between the teeth. Dentists encourage flossing to dislodge plaque between the teeth.
6. Tooth Cavities Are a Form of Tooth Decay
Did you know that tooth decay and tooth cavities are different? While most people use the term interchangeably, the terms describe two oral issues.
Tooth decay is a progressive oral disease caused by the erosion of enamel. Over time enamel gets severely compromised, exposing your tooth to plaque and bacteria.
On the other hand, cavities are holes that form on your teeth due to tooth decay. As your enamel erodes, your tooth structure becomes compromised, leaving a cavity.
So, tooth decay leads to cavities. However, practicing good oral habits will ensure your teeth are free from decay or cavities.
7. You Cannot Always Tell When You Have Tooth Decay
As stated before, most people mistake tooth cavities and decay. Looking for holes in your teeth is not a sufficient examination since tooth cavities are only one sign of tooth decay.
Stained teeth are not from a love of coffee alone. Tooth discoloration is another way to determine if you have tooth decay. The enamel is responsible for giving teeth their white color. You will notice a yellow hue on your teeth as the enamel erodes.
In addition, teeth decay is more prone to areas a toothbrush cannot reach. The spaces between your teeth are a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause the enamel to wear out. You might not notice these areas in most cases until cavities start showing.
8. Fluoride Is Essential for Preventing Tooth Decay
If you want stronger teeth, you must step up your fluoride game. Fluoride is one of the most important components in your toothpaste, but why is that?
Fluoride is vital in preventing tooth decay. It actively strengthens your enamel and makes your teeth more resistant to erosion caused by bacteria and acid foods.
Brushing teeth twice daily and using fluoride toothpaste ensures that your teeth get enough to form a powerful defense that prevents cavities. In addition, you can also use mouth rinses made from fluoride solutions to get better results.
Do you have a tooth cavity that needs to get checked? All About Smile Dental Group is your best option for tooth decay treatments. Schedule an appointment today and get your smile back.