What causes tooth decay?
There are several factors which contribute to tooth decay including genetic reasons, dietary choices and oral health practices. It pretty much all boils down to one thing though; the pH level in your mouth. If you have an acidic pH level in your mouth most of the time, chances are that these acids will slowly eat away at the layers of your teeth, causing them to decay over time.
To learn more, check out our tooth decay causes page
Can tooth decay happen to anyone?
Yes. Tooth decay is very common, especially among children who tend to consume much more sugar in their diets which, when mixed with bacteria inside the mouth, metabolizes into tooth decaying acids.
Does tooth decay hurt?
Depending on the stage of tooth decay you are going through, there will be different signs and symptoms. In it’s early stages, the strong outer layer of your tooth will typically only have subtle visual signs. As the decay progresses into the dentin and then into the pulp of the tooth, you will likely experience sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures, or possibly even sharp pain in the effected tooth.
To learn more, check out our signs and symptoms of tooth decay page
Is it possible to prevent tooth decay from happening?
Tooth decay is easily preventable if you can keep a balanced pH level in your mouth and help your mouth win the battle between demineralization and remineralization. You can do this by making the right dietary choices and by having a good oral hygiene practice Some tips to do this include:
- eating foods that are beneficial for your teeth
- avoid foods that decay your teeth
- learn about proper oral hygiene
Can tooth decay be reversed?
The answer to this depends on what stage of tooth decay you are in.
If it is in it’s early stages, tooth decay can definitely be reversed. By early stage we mean before the decay eats through the enamel layer and into the dentin. At this point, by simply making some of the changes mentioned above, you can effectively introduce more vitamins and minerals into your mouth than you are losing from acids. As a result, these vitamins and minerals will help build up your tooth enamel, making it stronger and less prone to decay.
Check out early stage tooth decay treatment for more information
What if I don’t notice tooth decay until it eats through the enamel?
Allowing tooth decay to progress into a more advanced stage will require dental intervention to get it fixed. Once tooth decay passes through the enamel layer and into the dentin, remineralization will not work. At this point it will be necessary to visit a dentist who can insert a filling or place a crown over the effected tooth in order to prevent any further decay.
Allowing tooth decay to progress even further, into the pulp layer, will require even more extensive treatment. Once the decay enters into the pulp layer of the tooth, the pulp will become infected, usually causing a lot of pain. In order to have this fixed will require root canal therapy. In some cases tooth extraction may also be required if the infection is severe.
Can tooth decay be life threatening?
Allowing tooth decay to progress into it’s latest stage, affecting the pulp layer of the tooth can be very dangerous. If the infected pulp is not removed and an abscess forms, there is serious cause for worry. Once an abscess forms, the infection can spread to other parts of your body causing a life threatening situation.