The Story Behind Tooth Decay
- Posted on: Mar 21 2016
Tooth decay is one of the most overlooked diseases in modern times. You would be surprised how many people rarely get their checkup at their dentist. Some people just think if their teeth don’t hurt then they are okay. Although dentistry has made major leaps in tooth decay treatment and prevention, there is a shift in approach that is more customized to the individual and their risk factors for tooth decay.
The old school method of just filling a cavity never fixes the problem. It is like spilling a glass of milk, and the putting newspaper over it to cover it up. The milk is still spilled, and you changed nothing. Dentists are now taking a more proactive approach to treating the underlying cause of the infection that results in the actual tooth decay.
Tooth Decay Is a Process
Your mouth is a living environment of microorganisms that continually interact with your mouth. Teeth are protected to some extent by enamel which is a hard substance consisting of calcium and phosphate. Saliva also coats the teeth and helps control the pH or acidity of your mouth and keep it at neutral levels. On the pH scale, 1 is considered total acidity and 14 is non-acidic or alkaline. Typically the normal pH of a healthy mouth is 7, neither too acidic nor too alkaline; it is neutral.
The first step in the process of decay is the de-mineralization of the tooths enamel coating. This happens when acidogenic (producing acid) bacteria cling on to dental plaque. When we consume things like sweets, soda and carbohydrates those bacteria break down the sugars and produce acid as a result. The more sugar you eat, the more acidic your mouth becomes. Anything on the pH scale of 5.5 and below will begin to dissolve the enamel coating on your teeth. This disintegration happens because more calcium and phosphate are leeched from the tooth than is absorbed. The layer beneath the enamel and the roots of your teeth are composed of dentin.Dentin is softer than enamel and is prone to decay more than enamel. The roots of your teeth will decay at acid levels that are near neutral. Essentially this means even your saliva will begin to deteriorate your teeth at this stage. A quick tip to remember when eating sugary foods, brush your teeth as soon as possible and rinse your mouth well. They sell disposable toothbrushes with toothpaste on them in most pharmacies.
If you have suffered misshapen or discolored teeth due to the effects of tooth decay, there is good news! You can get your smile back with dental implants, veneers and other cosmetic tools to improve your smile. Call Uptown Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry at 713-766-1493 to see how we can help you overcome the cosmetic effects of tooth decay.
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