Tooth Decay, Causes, Precautions and Treatment

dentist showing tooth decay to the patient

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is a process in which the outer surface of our tooth is damaged by the bacteria, leaving small gaps or holes on the surface of our tooth which are also called cavities. These cavities are the permanent damage caused on our tooth surface in the form of tiny gaps or small holes, mainly by the action of Streptococcus mutans bacteria.

5 stages of tooth decay

According to the medical science, the tooth decay has been categorized into 5 stages:

  • Demineralization – It is considered to be the first and initial stage of tooth decay, which starts with the weakening of the hardest part of our teeth (Enamel) due to plaque existence. This plaque is responsible for releasing an acid that weakens the enamel and starts tooth decay. Luckily this damage can be cured back to normal by proper brushing habits and using fluoride-containing mouthwash.
  • Enamel Decay – It is considered to be the second stage in the process of tooth decay, which can be detected by the appearance of brown spots on our enamel. At this stage, the cavities start to appear on the surface of the teeth, which can further be prevented by the removal of the decayed part of our tooth and filling that gap portion with porcelain, copper, zinc, gold, etc. These filings are also known as resins.
  • Damaged Pulp – In this stage swelling of the tooth takes place as the decay reaches the pulp (it is the group of connecting tissues situated below the dentin layer). At this stage, only a root canal treatment is helpful, in which the damaged pulp of the tooth is treated.
  • Abscess Formation – It is considered to be the final stage of tooth decay in which infection is caused inside the tooth as the bacteria enters the decomposing pulp, which causes severe pain that can spread from our gum to the jaw. In this, the removal of the tooth is only the solution as the infection is spread all over the tooth.

Types of cavities

There are around 3 types of cavities:

  • Cavities occurring on smooth surfaces – Such decomposition of teeth occurs due to regular consumption of sugary products in which the damage could also appear in the side part of the teeth.
  • Cavities in the form of Pits and Fissures – Such decomposition occurs on the upper part of teeth, in which the intensive chewing takes place.
  • Cavities inside the roots

Symptoms of Tooth Decay

There are various symptoms of tooth decay, some of these are as follows:

  • Frequent pain in your teeth, occurring without any reason
  • A sensation of gentle or harsh pain during the consumption of anything sugary, cold, or hot
  • Sudden pain when chewing something
  • Stains of brown, black or white color on the surface of your teeth

The 5 main reasons behind tooth decay

  • Excessive consumption of sugar or food containing sugar, such as Chocolates, soft drinks, etc.
  • Not brushing your teeth properly and frequently
  • Presence of tooth decaying bacteria in the mouth
  • Due to certain mouth diseases
  • Excessive consumption of acidic food
  • Unhealthy food habits

Apart from the reasons mentioned above, one of the main reasons behind tooth decay is a lack of awareness and knowledge, due to which people are unable to follow certain norms and precautions that are required for the prevention of any type of tooth decay.

Precautions for tooth decay

These are the certain precautions that are necessary to prevent tooth decay:

  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste for brushing daily – Fluoride toothpaste helps to provide strength to the damaged part of the tooth (enamel) and it also helps it to recover.
  • Regularly visiting a dental clinic- Visiting a dental clinic regularly, helps to detect and prevent several teeth-related problems.
  • Drinking clean or purified water – Regular consumption of purified and clean water for drinking is highly beneficial in preventing tooth decay, as it contains components of fluoride which helps to protect our teeth from decaying.
  • Avoiding the regular consumption of chocolates or any sweet and acidic food- Preventing the regular consumption of sugary products or any acidic food is very important in preventing the cause of tooth decay.
  • Practising flossing between the teeth daily- It is very crucial to floss (cleaning the portion between the teeth using thread) your teeth daily, as many food items get stuck in the middle part of our teeth which are sometimes not removed by just brushing the teeth.
  • Using Mouthwash after brushing teeth – It is very essential to use a mouthwash containing fluoride, as it helps to provide extra protection to our teeth and prevents them from decaying.
  • Consumption of foods that are healthy for teeth – A person needs to consume food that is beneficial for teeth, which are foods rich in calcium, phosphorus, Vitamin C, etc. These foods help to prevent tooth decay if consumed regularly.

Why we should consult a dentist to cure tooth decay?

It is very important to consult a dentist for curing tooth decay because Dentists are the doctors that are specialized in the treatment of any dental problem. We need to have a routine dental check-up, as our teeth are the most important part of our body that somehow helps in digestion and chewing of the food. So, we need to maintain our dental hygiene, which can only be achieved by frequently visiting the dentists and avoiding the use of home remedies in case of any tooth problem, because delaying a proper treatment may arise more critical problems like Pyorrhoea.

If you are suffering from any dental problem such as tooth decay do visit our clinic Aesthetic Dental situated in Mohali, Chandigarh. Aesthetic Dental Clinic is a well-established dental clinic in Chandigarh Tricity, which is well equipped with high-tech machinery and a team of highly specialized dentists who are known for offering reliable and proper treatment and have been able to attain people’s trust for a long time. We provide treatment for every age group at affordable prices with proper consultancy.