Decay/ Infection

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Decay/ Infection

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is damage that occurs when the germs or bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat your tooth, leading to a hole called cavity. If not treated in time, this condition can cause infection, intense pain or even tooth loss.

A tooth has three layers. They are:

  • Enamel which is the hard, outer layer.
  • Dentin- the middle layer.
  • Pulp, which is the centre of the tooth that contains the nerves and blood vessels.

It is essential to know that the more the layers are affected by the decay, worse is the damage.

How is Tooth Decay Caused?

Food and bacteria often cause tooth decay. A sticky substance called plaque always forms on your teeth and gums, and contains bacteria that often feed on the sugars in the food you eat. As the bacteria feed, they create acids that attack the teeth. Over time, these acids affect the tooth and destroy the enamel, causing decay. A few things that make you prone to having a tooth decay include:

  • Eating foods that are rich in sugars and other carbohydrates that feed the bacteria in your mouth.
  • Not brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
  • Not visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning.
  • Not getting enough fluoride that helps prevent tooth decay by making your teeth resistant to acids that are produced by plaque.
  • Not having enough amount of saliva that helps wash away food and other harmful sugars, protecting your teeth from decay
  • Smoking, using spit tobacco and breathing second-hand smoke.
  • Having diabetes.

These are a few tooth decay causes that you must know, to avoid such conditions in the future.

What are the Symptoms of a Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay symptoms are not usually noticed until you have a cavity or a tooth that is infected. However, a few common symptoms of this condition include:

  • A toothache
  • Bad breath
  • Swelling in the gums near a sore tooth
  • White, black, grey or brown spots on your teeth.

If you have a toothache, it is essential that you visit a dentist. Sometimes, the pain may go away for a short while. However, the tooth decay will keep growing. Therefore, you must receive treatment, or your cavities could get worse, and your tooth could die.

How to Treat a Tooth Decay?

A tooth decay treatment depends on the severity of the case. If the decay is diagnosed early, before the formation of a cavity, you may be able to prevent it by brushing with a toothpaste containing fluoride or get fluoride treatments. If the decay has eaten or damaged the enamel, you may need the following treatments:

  • A filling if the cavity is formed. After the decay is cleaned and removed, the dentist will use a material to fill the hole in your teeth and restore the tooth to its original shape.
  • A crown is used if the decay is severe and the tooth is damaged. A cap or crown is a man-made replacement for a part of a tooth.
  • A root canal is performed if the pulp of the tooth is infected. A root canal helps remove the diseased pulp of the tooth.
  • Extraction or removal of the tooth. This treatment is performed if the root of the tooth is severely damaged. The dentist may replace the tooth with an implant or a bridge.

How Can You Prevent a Tooth Decay?

You can prevent tooth decay with the help of the following tips:

  • Take good care of your teeth. It is advisable to brush your teeth twice a day- in the morning and before bedtime. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride and floss once a day.
  • Do not snack before bedtime as this will leave food on the teeth overnight and cause cavities.
  • Avoid foods that are high in sugar, especially desserts, sugar-coated cereals, and sticky foods like raisins. Always remember, the longer sugar is in contact with your teeth, the more damage it will cause.
  • Visit your dentist for regular check-ups, once or twice a year so that any dental concerns can be found before they get worse.

Apollo Experience

At Apollo Clinic, our Dentistry Department offers you the best services and treatments for all your dental concerns. With an ideal combination of world-class hospitality, customised care and a team of highly skilled dentists, covering almost every field of specialisation, we aim at providing you with the highest quality care. Offering you few of the latest dental treatments for all your dental concerns, including tooth decay, we ensure that you have the best treatment and a healthy recovery.

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