Tooth decay is one of the most common preventable illnesses. It is caused by bacteria and can be prevented very easily by making healthy lifestyle choices and being diligent when it comes to oral hygiene.
What causes decay?
Tooth decay is caused by bacteria, which release plaque acids that attack and wear away the protective outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. When the enamel is weak, holes known as cavities form and if decay is left untreated, infection can spread to other parts of the teeth and the gums.
Plaque acids are released by bacteria in plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance made when leftover bits of food join with saliva and bacteria. It clings to the teeth and gum line and is the main risk factor for decay and gum disease.
Signs of tooth decay
Sometimes it is possible to see holes in the tooth surface, but this is not always the case. However, you may be able to feel a hole with your tongue. Additional symptoms of decay include toothache and tooth pain, heightened sensitivity and a feeling of weakness in the tooth, especially when you chew or bite down with it.
What can be done for decay?
If you have a cavity, the most common course of action is to fill the hole. We recommend white fillings because they are strong, safe and aesthetically pleasing. A filling helps to restore the strength of the tooth, as well as improving the aesthetic and reducing the risk of spreading infection. The procedure is fairly straightforward and the tooth will be numbed beforehand to prevent any pain.
In order to prevent decay, we recommend a good daily oral hygiene regime, regular dental appointments and a healthy diet.