Understanding Tooth Decay | Martin Urban DDS
Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health problems in children and adults. Tooth decay is a disease that forms when harmful bacteria in your mouth mix with the food particles left on your teeth after eating. Bacteria convert sugars to acid, which can eat through tooth enamel if not removed quickly enough. The process of tooth decay occurs over time and usually starts around age three or four.
Types of Dental Caries
There are three types of dental caries. They are pit and fissure, smooth surface, and complex.
Pit & Fissure Caries
Pit and fissure caries is a cavity that forms on the biting surfaces of your teeth (front teeth) where two tooth surfaces meet together in a bottomless pit or fissure. The high acid content of plaque is responsible for pit and fissure caries.
Smooth Surface Caries
Smooth surface caries affect the back teeth with a flat top with no deep pits or grooves on their chewing surfaces, such as molars. Over time, smooth surface tooth decay can develop from not brushing or cleaning your teeth properly.
Complex caries are a cavity that forms on the chewing surfaces of back or front teeth where deep grooves are located in the tooth’s surface. There are many small pits and fissures, making them more challenging to clean than other cavities. This type of decay usually happens when someone eats excessive amounts of carbohydrates, such as candy.
Prevention Tips for Tooth Decay
Brushing and flossing
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day is vital for removing food particles, plaque, and bacteria that can lead to decay. Flossing daily will also help remove any leftover debris in between the tight spaces of your teeth.
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel by replacing the lost minerals due to acid wear. It also helps protect your teeth from decay by blocking bacteria’s ability to produce acid and dissolve tooth enamel.
Visit a dentist regularly
A dental checkup can help catch early signs of cavities or other problems between regular cleanings so they can be treated sooner rather than later.
Making wise food choices: You can prevent cavities by limiting the sugary foods and drinks you eat. The bacteria in plaque use sugars to produce acids that cause decay, so avoiding them will help ensure your teeth stay healthy.