Over our lifetimes most of us, whether we practice good dental hygiene or not, will probably experience tooth decay. Tooth decay causes are varied. From not cleaning teeth correctly to eating too many unhealthy foods, letting your mouth get too dry and even taking certain medications. All of these can cause tooth decay. But what is tooth decay, how does it start, and what can you do to prevent tooth decay from happening to you?
Tooth decay basically begins with a process in your mouth that, over time, results in a cavity or a hole in your tooth. When this happens, if you don’t go to a dentist and get it treated correctly, you end up with a lot of pain, more decay and, eventually, you will lose your tooth. Tooth decay can also be very serious as, if left untreated, it can cause an infection to get into your blood stream and even result in a heart attack or stroke. So, if you think you might have tooth decay make sure you go to your dentist and get a check up, so you can solve the problem before it gets too serious.
Tooth decay is actually caused by a build up of bacteria in your mouth, as well as by stray particles of food that get stuck between your teeth, in your gums or on your tongue. Within a few minutes of eating, these food particles start to decay and produce bacteria. Bacteria love hot, wet places so they rapidly multiply in your mouth. The bacteria then start to feed on the sugar in any food you eat and in turn produce acids that start to attack your teeth. Within twenty to thirty minutes of eating, these acids are already attacking the enamel on your teeth and beginning the process of tooth decay. This is why it’s so important to brush your teeth immediately after eating anything, but especially after eating sugary foods.
Other causes of tooth decay are not brushing teeth enough (you should brush them for at least two minutes after every meal), or not brushing teeth correctly. When you brush your teeth, always brush the fronts, tops, bottoms and backs (many people forget to brush the backs of their teeth) and also brush your tongue. Tooth decay is also caused by not flossing your teeth and by eating high carbohydrate foods or foods containing a lot of sugar. Not going to see your dentist for regular check-ups can also cause tooth decay. Make sure you go at least twice a year to get a proper teeth cleaning at your dentist’s office. Sure, you clean your teeth every day, but dentists can reach areas of your mouth you cannot and they also have special equipment to scrape the plaque off your teeth.
Tooth decay is something you will likely experience at least once in your lifetime. Following good dental hygiene practices however can go a long way to making sure it’s a one-time thing and halting the causes of tooth decay in their tracks. And your smile will look prettier too.
SOURCES: Animated-Teeth.com, Wikipedia.org, Dentalgentalcare.com, and webmd.com