According to the World Health Organization, almost every adult in the world today experience tooth decay. People know this problem by two other names: cavities and caries. In simple terms, dental cavity describes teeth slowly eroding due to bacterial overgrowth.
In most cases, erosion may require the installation of crowns like zirconia which closes off the affected region. Every permanent tooth is made up of three layers. The outermost layer is the enamel and it is also known as the hardest part of the human body. Beneath the enamel is the dentin where there are microscopic tubes that lead us to the core of the teeth or the pulp. The pulp contains nerves and blood vessels for each tooth.
What Exactly is Tooth Decay?
“Caries” is Latin for rotting and it is an accurate way of describing tooth decay. Uncontrolled bacterial populations on the tooth excrete acids, a byproduct of their own metabolism. Acids break down enamel and this acid will continue boring into teeth until it reaches the inner layers.
Tooth decay is a very slow process. Initial onset of decay is often a barely visible discoloration at the site of the cavity.
A Cumulative Effect
One common question people ask about tooth decay is this: why does dental decay occur in specific areas of one’s teeth?
This is a valid curiosity. If tooth decay takes months or even a year to develop and require medical attention, how does it localise? The answer is in the plaque. The most common sites of tooth decay are usually the hardest to clean. These spots are where plaque, or a biofilm of bacteria, can’t be so easily brushed off. This includes the crown of the molar, the tiny gaps between teeth and the conjunction between the teeth and the gums.
Because of the plague build-up, the covered part of the teeth is unable to regulate its pH levels. As a result, the acids will start boring into the teeth.
Unfortunately, tooth decay only often receives medical attention when it has reached the inner layers of teeth. In other words, it only gets attention when it has become a major problem.
Fighting Tooth Decay
Reiterating the World Health Organization’s findings, almost everyone is afflicted with tooth decay at some point in their lives. And, ironically but logically enough, the number is direr in developed countries, where the average diet contains more sugar.
How Can You Avoid Tooth Decay?
The best way one can avoid tooth decay is through proper oral hygiene and a visit to our dentists once every three to four months. The use of toothpaste containing fluoride is also suggested to strengthen the teeth.
The ideal method is to brush twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon. It is essential for you to maintain a proper way of brushing the teeth, as well as to use a toothbrush that’s neither too hard nor too soft.
But one warning you’ve probably heard before is this: skip the candies and sweets. This isn’t an empty threat to keep you away from the good stuff. The bacteria that cause tooth decay also love the sugar in sweets, which they convert to the acid that eats through your teeth.