Tooth decay is one of the most common reasons to visit a dentist in Australia. Many factors including poor oral hygiene, improper diet, and even genetics can contribute to this condition.
However, most people might not know that tooth decay happens gradually and that it can even be reversed if caught in its early stages.
If you suspect you may have a cavity, here’s everything you need to know about the stages of tooth decay and how to prevent them:
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is a dental health condition that occurs when bacteria inside your mouth start damaging your teeth. It is a really common condition and the National Institute of Health says that nearly 90% of adults aged 20 to 64 years have had decay in their teeth.
If the bacteria accumulate on your teeth (in a layer called dental plaque), they can convert the sugars from your foods into acids, which slowly start attacking the surfaces of your teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay leads to severe complications, including permanent tooth loss.
Stages of Tooth Decay
Tooth decay happens in 5 stages:
This is where the tooth enamel begins to be exposed to the acids caused by the bacteria, leading to the enamel losing its minerals. This is the only stage of tooth decay that can be reversed. Unfortunately, by the time patients notice the tooth decay process, it’s often too late;
If not reversed, the enamel will begin to decay and you can notice a white spot on your tooth that will slowly darken;
This is the soft layer beneath the enamel. If the decay reaches this point, you can experience increased tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold food and drinks;
This is where all the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels are. If the decay reaches the pulp, it will cause a lot of pain and swelling;
How to Avoid Tooth Decay?
Though you can reverse early tooth decay, the better strategy is to stay on top of your oral health and reduce your risk of decay altogether.
Here are some tips on preventing tooth decay:
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day
- Floss daily
- Eat plenty of fresh fruits and veggies
- See the dentist routinely
Are You Dealing with Tooth Decay?
When tooth decay occurs, it’s important to see the dentist as soon as possible and get treatment. The longer you wait, the more the decay can progress and affect your oral health.
The Plaza Dental Care team is here to help people in Modbury, St. Agnes, Ridgehaven SA and surrounding areas take care of their oral health, with professional dental care services delivered with a caring touch.
Book an appointment today!
Related article: 5 Ways to Look After Your Teeth As You Age