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Understanding Tooth Decay: Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

February 6, 2024 7:21 pm

Tooth decay is one of the most common oral health conditions that afflicts patients. If caught early, cavities can be treated with a simple filling, but if things progress too far, you could be looking at severe tooth decay or even an extraction. Understanding the details about tooth decay can help keep your smile healthy for years to come.

Causes of Tooth Decay

The mouth is home to a variety of bacteria, some good and some bad. Tooth decay occurs when bad bacteria in the mouth produce acids that eat away at the outer layer of the teeth. This acid erosion weakens the enamel and creates tiny openings where bacteria can penetrate, leading to decay. Poor oral hygiene, frequent consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks, and inadequate fluoride exposure are common contributors to tooth decay.

Symptoms of Tooth Decay

The early stages of tooth decay may not cause any noticeable symptoms, making regular dental check-ups critical for early detection. As decay progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Sensitivity to sugary foods and drinks
  • Visible holes or pits in the teeth
  • A persistent toothache
  • Dark spots on tooth enamel

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

The key to preventing tooth decay is to practice excellent oral hygiene. This includes a thorough at-home brushing and flossing routine and biannual visits to the dentist for an exam and professional teeth cleaning. Limiting your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks and incorporating fluoride treatments into your oral care routine can also help strengthen tooth enamel and reduce the risk of decay.

Tooth Decay Prevention & Treatment in Murfreesboro, TN

Schedule your next dental check-up and cleaning at Salem Creek Family Dental to prevent tooth decay! We will examine your smile to make sure you are cavity-free and gently remove any plaque that could contribute to enamel erosion. If you require treatment for tooth decay, you’ll be in excellent hands with our team of friendly, experienced dental providers.

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