Tooth decay can be a daunting and dangerous condition if left untreated. Starting as a simple issue, tooth decay can develop into a painful condition that interrupts a person’s quality of life. Fortunately, proper dental care and conscientious dieting can help prevent tooth decay and keep your smile bright.

What is Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be called “dental caries or cavities”—in the preliminary stages, tooth decay may simply look like a lighter or darker spot on the tooth with no pain or little to no sensitivity. As tooth decay worsens, this spot will continually deteriorate, leaving behind a visible and often painful hole. As the hole deepens, the cavity or decay will reach the pulp of the tooth, causing severe pain and requiring dental intervention.

What Causes Tooth Decay

The leading cause of tooth decay in adults is often a combination of poor diet and dental hygiene. Bacteria thrive in damp spaces, making the mouth an ideal breeding ground. When individuals consume excess amounts of carbohydrates, the bacteria within the mouth convert this sugar into energy, releasing acid waste afterward. A build-up of this acidic waste breaks down the protective layers covering your teeth, destroying the tooth itself until it is weakened.

Saliva works to combat sugars, but processed food often houses more sugar than saliva alone can handle—this is where dental hygiene comes into play. Frequent drinking and snacking make it hard for saliva to keep a neutral pit in the mouth leading to decay.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be caused in a variety of ways, so patients worried about the development of decay should be prepared to take multiple steps in order to prevent the process of decay:

  • Limit intake of processed and sugary foods
  • Brush your teeth twice a day
  • Eat a well-balanced, healthy diet
  • Use toothpaste that contains fluoride
  • Stay properly hydrated
  • Floss daily
  • Avoid chewing sugary gum
  • Come in for routine exams/ x-rays and hygiene visits

Dental Treatments for Tooth Decay

Treatment for decay can widely vary depending on the extent of damage done to tooth structure. For small areas of decay, a composite filling may restore the tooth to proper function. If the decay grows large enough that it reaches the nerve of the tooth, root canal treatment or even tooth loss can occur. For this reason, it is best to treat tooth decay early to avoid larger problems. Regular dental exams are the best way to ensure early detection and prevent severe decay.

Where to Seek Professional Tooth Decay Intervention

Life Centered Dentistry in Grand Rapids, MI has proudly provided the greater communities of Grand Rapids with exceptional dentistry care since our opening. Our dedicated team is eager to help every patient receive relief for their teeth, bringing out their best and brightest smile. To get professional help on tooth decay, schedule a consultation with Life Centered Dentistry today.