Many people experience tooth decay at some point in their lives. Genetics, poor oral hygiene, smoking, and diet can all increase a person’s risk. How does tooth decay work? Can it be reversed?
When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars in the food and produce acid. The combination of bacteria, sugar, and acid creates a clear, sticky substance known as dental plaque. When it hardens, plaque turns into tartar. Plaque and tartar decay the hard outer layer on your teeth – the enamel – and cause cavities. When untreated, decay spreads deep inside a tooth and its root, leading to infections and tooth loss.
When a tooth begins to decay, can anything reverse it? It’s only possible in the very early stage when a tooth has just started to lose some minerals. Putting minerals back in the tooth (remineralization) can return the tooth to normal. Fluoride treatments are a great way to remineralize teeth. Improving your oral hygiene is also essential.
If a dentist notices any teeth at a higher risk for cavities, they’ll point them out so you can pay special attention to that part of your mouth. If the tooth decay has created an actual hole in your tooth, it can’t go back to normal, and we’ll need to treat it.
Tooth decay is a very common problem, but the process can be reversed if it’s caught early! That’s why regular visits to the dentist for cleanings and exams with Dr. Akinwande are important. We spot teeth at risk for cavities and treat cavities before they become serious and painful. If you have any questions about tooth decay or want to schedule an appointment, please get in touch today!