There is a war going on in your mouth right now, and you might not even be aware of it. Some naturally occurring bacteria eat the sugars in the foods you eat and turn them into acidic waste products that eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Even though tooth enamel is a good protection against this constant attack, it can only do so much. If you don’t brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, use mouthwash, and go to the doctor regularly, your tooth enamel can wear away to the point where it can’t protect you anymore. This is called tooth decay, and if it goes untreated, it can lead to the loss of teeth and other major problems. The team at Dr. Motiwala Dental Clinic & Implant Centre would like to tell you more about the 5 stages of tooth decay and give you some tips on how to avoid it.
Stage One: Demineralization
Even though tooth enamel is the strongest thing in your body, it can still be damaged. Tooth enamel is mostly made of hydroxyapatite, which is a tough molecule with calcium in it. Acids, on the other hand, can remove the calcium that makes hydroxyapatite strong. This is called demineralization, and it leaves white spots on the teeth.
Stage Two: Enamel Decay
Once the minerals are gone from your tooth enamel, those white spots will start to turn brown. This means that the enamel is decaying. These are called cavities by dentists, and if they are filled in time, they can stop tooth damage in its tracks.
Stage Three: Dentin Decay
The softer, more porous layer under your tooth enamel is called dentin. Acids can quickly eat away at the dentin when the enamel wears away. During this time, your teeth may hurt, especially when you eat or drink something hot or cold, or something sweet.
Stage Four: Pulp Damage
Once enough of your dentin has worn away, your tooth pulp will be visible. This is the tissue where the nerves and blood vessels that keep your teeth living are located. At this point, the tooth will hurt and may even turn from white to gray or black. You may also have swelling, a bad smell, or a bad taste in your mouth. If you want to keep your tooth after the tooth pulp has died, you will need a root treatment.
Stage Five: Infection and Abscess
When your tooth pulp is visible, it’s easy for bacteria to get into your blood vessels. This can cause an infection in the root pulp, which can lead to an abscess, which is a pocket of pus. Tooth infections can also spread to other parts of the body and can be very dangerous or even cause death if they are not managed. Once you get to this point, you’ll need a root canal, and if that doesn’t work, the tooth may have to be pulled.
Preventing Tooth Decay
As we’ve already said, a good oral health routine can avoid tooth decay by getting rid of bacteria and plaque buildup in the mouth before they can start eating away at the tooth enamel. This means brushing, flossing, using mouthwash every day, and going to the dentist every six months for a checkup. If you have any of the signs of tooth loss, you need to see a dentist right away to stop the problem from getting worse. You can keep your teeth from falling out by changing how you take care of your mouth, getting caps, or, if necessary, getting a root canal. Dr. Motiwala Dental Clinic & Implant Centre is ready to help you find a trusted dentist. Call us right away.
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