How Tooth Decay Happens (and How to Stop It)

Tooth decay – the dreaded enemy to your gorgeous smile. You’ve heard about it most of your life, and you know it’s bad. But, what is tooth decay? How does it happen, and what can you do to stop it? We’ll answer those questions and more in this quick guide from Clinton Dental Center.

The Science behind Tooth Decay

Your mouth is filled with naturally-occurring bacteria. When food gets left in your mouth, the bacteria digests the food and converts it into acid. This is the acid that wears down your enamel, causing tooth decay. This most often occurs with sugary foods or carbohydrates. Thankfully, good oral hygiene can keep the decay to a minimum.

Tooth Decay Treatments for Each Stage of Decay

Cavities do not develop overnight. It takes a while for minor decay to turn into major decay. Each stage of tooth decay has its own treatment option. Early signs of tooth decay may be remedied with fluoride toothpaste, fluoride rinses, or professional fluoride treatments. More progressive stages may require dental sealants or fillings. If tooth decay is starting to impact the nerve, it may require a root canal or removal of the tooth completely. Your dentist can discuss your options with you after an oral exam.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

The best way to treat tooth decay is to prevent it from happening. If you already have some decay, talk to your dentist about fast-acting treatment solutions. The decay will only get worse over time.

To prevent tooth decay, brush and floss every day. Brush your teeth at least twice during the day, and floss at least once. Additionally, you should see your dentist every six months for a professional teeth cleaning. This will remove plaque that builds up over time. That plaque can cause tooth decay.

Be mindful of the foods you eat and the drinks you consume. If you’re going to eat or drink something sugary, brush your teeth about 20 minutes afterward. If you are not in a position to brush your teeth, you can rinse your mouth with water or chew some sugar-free gum. This will encourage saliva production, which will help rinse away acid and food particles.

For more information about tooth decay treatment and prevention, contact Clinton Dental Center at (586) 949-5363. You can schedule a consultation with Dr. Sadikoff to discuss a personalized care plan for your smile.