Why Are My Teeth Decaying So Fast?
Cavities and Tooth Decay: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Tooth decay is your tooth enamel softening and refers to the degradation of the tooth structure caused by acids that are produced when plaque bacteria break down sugar in your mouth. If this mineral loss from the enamel is left untreated, it may eventually result in a cavity or hole in the tooth. Such holes can grow larger with time without treatment, and can even kill the entire tooth.
The plaque acids can also eat away at the next tooth layer (dentin) and ultimately cause what is known as the root cavity. As a result, your teeth's nerves are exposed, and when you eat or drink you can feel pain. If you feel pain near your tooth's root, you may have some sort of tooth decay and should seek advice from a dental professional. Effective teeth hygiene is a vital part of preserving your overall health and well-being and this means avoiding the dreaded dental cavity. One of the most common signs of tooth decay is a dental cavity, and it could be a sign of poor oral health and hygiene.
Causes of Cavities and Tooth Decay
The development of cavities involves a number of steps, beginning from the loss of tooth mineral (demineralization) to chewing all the way through the tooth to trigger cavities. Tooth decay also occurs when carbohydrate-containing foods get stuck between teeth and are not completely removed by brushing and flossing.
Sugar, sticky foods, and drinks are major causes of tooth decay. The more sugar it consumes, the more acid it produces which leads to decay. Sugar combines with plaque to weaken the enamel which makes you susceptible to decay of the tooth. Each time you eat a sugary snack, your teeth are vulnerable to damage from the acids for the next 20 minutes. Learning the causes of tooth decay is crucial, so you can learn the right way to care for your teeth and your health. Cavity and tooth decay factors to watch out for:
- Poor Oral Hygiene: Not brushing your teeth regularly allows plaque to build up and attack the tooth enamel.
- Plaque Formation: Plaque is caused by the mixture of bacteria, acid, food particles and saliva all in your mouth. The plaque will stick to your teeth and will build up over time. Plaque acid attacks your tooth enamel and can eventually cause holes in your teeth, better known as cavities.
- Dry Mouth: The saliva allows the teeth to wash plaque. If you have a dry mouth that contains very little saliva, plaque can build up faster.
- Eating and Drinking: This is where it all begins. Because we all have to eat and drink to live, there's no way to stop this, so it does play a major role in cavity formation. Carbohydrates stay on your teeth while you eat or drink before you wash. You may not even be able to remove all food particles or carbohydrates from your teeth after the brushing. Foods that tend to stick to your teeth can increase your risk of developing a tooth cavity. Be sure to brush your teeth regularly, particularly after drinking milk or soda, or after consuming dried fruit, dry cereals, hard candy, caramel, taffy, raisins, sugary cereals, cookies and breath mints.
- Bacteria and Acid: While most people don't like thinking about it, bacteria do live in your mouth naturally. Acid forms as these bacteria digest the carbohydrates that remain on your teeth and mouth.
- Medical Problems: May lead to tooth cavity by allowing stomach acid to flow back into your mouth. Likewise, when the teeth are exposed to stomach acid during repeated vomiting, bulimia increases the risk of a tooth cavity. Additionally, certain forms of cancer treatment that expose the head and neck to radiation may induce a tooth cavity by adjusting the saliva make-up to encourage increased growth of bacteria.
Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Decay and Cavities
When tooth decay progresses, signs of the cavity begin to show up. When you have some of the common signs of cavity, see your dentist as soon as you can. The earlier signs are detected, the faster and easier the treatment for cavity will be. Tune your teeth and search for these signs of the cavity:
- Pain: A toothache is one of the most common cavity symptoms.
- Pressure: Both increased tooth sensitivity and pain when biting down can indicate a cavity.
- Pits: Cavity symptoms may include a noticeable hole or pit in the affected tooth. Sometimes the holes are only visible on a dental x-ray.
- Pus: One of the more serious and obvious cavity symptoms is pus around a tooth.
Some common signs of a cavity you'll probably find on your own include toothache or sensitive teeth — especially while consuming sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks. Such cavity symptoms are usually associated with advanced tooth decay and thus require immediate attention from a dental professional.
Are You Looking for Preventative Dentistry Experts You Can Trust?
Drs. Jabbour and Kwon know that the perfect smile takes precision as well as a depth of knowledge in multiple aspects of dentistry. In addition to general dentistry, they have sought extensive education in the areas of preventative dentistry. Combining today's advanced dental treatments and materials, along with the skill, experience, and commitment of our practice, (using both science and artistry) we can literally redesign your smile. Even a subtle change in your smile helps you to project an image of self-confidence and high personal esteem. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!