The teeth are formed in its most superficial layer by enamel, which protects the internal tissues of the tooth from external aggressions. Although tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in our body, it does not prevent it from deteriorating or being affected. If this occurs, it is necessary to treat it to avoid the occurrence of dental pathologies that lead to major complications, such as dental decay.
What is a tooth decay?
One of the main causes of tooth enamel deterioration, beyond the wear and tear caused by one’s use or age, is the decrease in the pH of the mouth caused by the acids that form when the bacterial plaque comes into contact with the sugars of some foods (primarily carbohydrates). When the pH of the mouth drops, it creates the environment that allows acids to act, facilitating the destruction of the tooth surface (enamel) and the appearance of small holes or cavities, commonly known as decay.
Not all people are prone to decay formation. Factors such as genetics, tooth anatomy or saliva composition, among other elements, are decisive in the appearance of decay. This explains that two people with identical oral hygiene habits and who follow the same diet, may be affected differently by this pathology.
The formation of decay occurs at any age, although more frequently in children and adolescents, since in this period a greater amount of food is consumed with a high content of sugars called cariogenic) and oral hygiene is, in general, not very efficient. Elderly people also have a special predisposition to decay.
A greater sensitivity to cold and / or heat, usually in the affected tooth, in addition to the presence of more or less intense discomfort, may be symptoms of the presence of decay. However, it should be kept in mind that decay may not show symptoms until very advanced stages, once it has reached a great size and depth. That is why it is very important that you go to your check-up visits promptly in our office, since there is where we can diagnose them in their initial phase and treat them more easily.
The most common treatment for tooth decay is the filling, also called “filling” or “composite restoration”. The obturation consists in the elimination of the tissues damaged by decay and the subsequent filling of the resulting cavity by means of a material that replaces the hard tissues that have been lost by decay and guarantees the protection of dentin.
At present, fillings enjoy great durability and resistance, although over the years they can deteriorate or fracture. It is also common that, over time, leaks occur around the fillings made. In both cases, the damaged composite must be removed, the area cleaned again and a new seal must be made.
How to prevent tooth decay?
Since decay is caused by a set of factors, we must apply the following preventive measures:
- Brush and clean the spaces between the teeth to eliminate bacteria at least twice a day.
- Control the consumption of potentially cariogenic and sugar-rich foods, limiting them to the main meals.
- Use fluoridated toothpastes and rinses to protect tooth enamel and prevent acid adhesion. In addition to brushing.
in both children and adults, it is advisable to perform fluoridation periods in the dental clinic.
- Replace the chewing gum with sugar for chewing gum with xylitol.
- Go periodically to check your oral health in our clinic.
- In some cases, it may be highly recommended to protect the occlusal tooth surface of the premolars and molars with a seal of the pits and grooves in the tooth.
Dental decay, a condition too common …
Unfortunately, and despite the great effort that global health organizations make, along with doctors and dental clinics to raise awareness about these conditions, tooth decay is too common. Haste, bad meals, lack of hygiene or even stress favour these problems appear in our mouth. And in addition, decay does not understand age, both in children and adults, these exist. The problem with this fact is that tooth decay is the beginning of major problems such as root canals or extreme sensitivities in the teeth. Even so, from Eduardo López Dental Clinic we do not stop trying to raise awareness and educate about this problem.