All About Tooth Decay and Its Effects on Our Health

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Most people love taking sugary foods and drinks but be warned, it increases the risk of having tooth decay. 

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is a condition characterized by a thin plaque carrying bacterias. These bacterias convert the sugar present in the mouth to acid. The acids formed by plaque bacteria slowly dissolves the tooth, starting from the enamel and spreads to the pulp. At the initial stages, tooth decay might not cause its victim any discomfort as it involves the enamel which is the hardest part of the tooth. It can only be picked up by the dentist during routine check ups. This is why it is important to visit the dentist regularly.

Tooth decay can be reversed in its initial stage by reducing the intake of sugary foods and drinks especially in between meals. This will give the teeth enough time to clear off acids that might have been created. Brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste also helps. Fluoride strengthens the enamel.  When tooth decay progresses and begins to affect the dentin and pulp, the patient will begin to feel pain and then deem it necessary to pay the dentist a visit. At this stage, a hole might have developed. Depending on the damage caused by the decay, a dentist might decide to:

  • Use a filling. This requires removal of the decayed part before the filling is added
  • Removing the entire tooth; When the damage caused by the decay is irreversible, the tooth is completely removed. It can be replaced with a dental implant or denture.

Symptoms of tooth decay includes: tooth ache, increased tooth sensitivity, bad breath and appearance of dark spots on the tooth. It is wise to visit the dentist if you experience any of these symptoms however subtle. Tooth decay detected early can save the tooth.

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