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What Exactly IS Tooth Decay?

Published on July 31, 2014 by

Caries - Tooth DecayWe get asked this question every day! Tooth decay is more commonly referred to as a cavity,  or more specifically dental caries.  Tooth decay is a common disorder causing the breakdown of healthy tooth enamel and sometimes dentin. Cavities are little holes in the teeth causing damage to the structure of teeth. It can cause pain at times as it is an infection. It can also lead to tooth abscess if the pulp is reached, and can lead to the loss of the tooth when left untreated.

How does tooth decay occur?
Bacteria in our mouth change food into acids. That acid, along with bacteria, food, and saliva forms what we call plaque. Plaque forms within 20 min after eating, and if that plaque is not removed regularly, it creates tartar that sticks to our teeth.  Certain foods, like sugar, carbohydrates and sugary drinks play a big factor in developing tooth decay.

Accumulation of plaque and tartar can also affect your gums, resulting in the very common infection known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is what we call an active infection which generates pain.

The acid in plaque will slowly eat the healthy tooth structure away, first damaging the enamel, making its way in the dentin, then eventually reaching even deeper into the pulp when not addressed in its early stages.

The good news is, when detected on time, early treatment is easy and painless for both your mouth and your wallet.



Filed under: Dental Education, Dental Hygiene, Holistic Dentistry, Tooth Decay
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