Tooth Decay - Causes And Treatment
Alternative names :- Dental Caries, Dental Cavities
Tooth decay is the gradual breakdown of the tooth, beginning with the enamel surface and eventually progressing to the inner pulp.
Tooth decay rivals the common cold as the most prevalent human disorder. It is not a natural process, as many people believe, but a bacterial disease. This bacteria can enter the bloodstream and cause other problems in the body. Bacteria in the mouth combine with mucus and food debris to create a sticky mass called plaque that sticks to the surfaces of the teeth. The bacteria in the plaque feed on ingested sugars and produce an acid that leaches calcium and phosphate from the teeth.
Gradually, if the sticky deposits are not removed, the teeth erode-first the enamel (the outer layer) and then the dentin (the body of the tooth). If unchecked, decay can progress even further, into the pulp that contains the nerve in the center of the tooth, resulting in a toothache. Infection may result, leaving the tooth vulnerable to abscess.
Tooth decay depends on three factors: the presence of bacteria, the availability of sugars for the bacteria to feed on, and the vulnerability of tooth enamel. Poor nutrition and poor oral hygiene are probably the main factors behind most cavities. In particular, people who consume large quantities of refined carbohydrates-especially sticky-textured foods that cling to tooth surfaces-or who snack frequently without cleaning their teeth afterwards are much more likely to have a problem with tooth decay. There are also some people who, for reasons not yet understood, seem to have unusually acidic saliva and/or higher than normal levels of bacteria present in their mouths, and they too are more prone to tooth decay.
Tooth decay normally causes no symptoms until it is rather far advanced. Then the tooth may become sensitive to heat, cold, and the consumption of sugar. In later stages, a toothache may occur.
Tooth decay treatment
Considerations and prevention tips
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