One of the most common causes of enduring tooth pain results from tooth decay. That begs the question, “How does tooth decay develop?” When the enamel on your tooth’s surface begins breaking down, that is when tooth decay occurs. As a result, there are pockets of decay left on the tooth’s surface. Because bacteria live in plaque, it causes acidic damage that leads to tooth decay. To learn more about oral health, contact Lovett Dental Sharpstown today.
The Stages of Tooth Decay
Understanding the question, “How does tooth decay develop?” involves understanding the stages of tooth decay. They include the following:
- White spots: When you see chalky white areas on your tooth’s surface, that is the first stage of tooth decay
- Enamel decay: The second state of tooth decay is when the enamel starts breaking down below the surface of the tooth
- Dentin decay: This is the third stage of tooth decay and, if left untreated, bacteria and acids continue dissolving enamel and could reach the tooth’s dentin
- Pulp involvement: The pulp is the center of the tooth and, when decay occurs in this area and is left untreated, it could experience an infection during the fourth stage of tooth decay
- Formation of an Abscess: The final stage of tooth decay is the formation of an abscess. This stage is painful, causes swelling, and could cause infection in conjoining bones
Common Causes of Tooth Decay
Answering the question, “How does tooth decay develop?” involves understanding its common causes. Here are some examples:
- Consuming specific drinks and foods: If you eat foods that cling to your tooth’s surface, they are more likely than not to cause tooth decay. Major plaque promoters include most cooked starchy foods and all sugars, including bread, dry cereal, honey, milk, and raisins
- Snacking frequently: To help lose weight or maintain weight loss, many suggest eating several small meals daily. However, if you snack regularly, that also means you must brush and floss just as often to prevent bacterial growth and plaque build-up
- Receding gums: Plaque can form near your teeth’s roots if you have a receding gum line. Your tooth’s enamel does not protect these roots, so they are more susceptible to tooth decay
- Not enough fluoride: We get fluoride from water, toothpaste, and other sources. Your saliva and that fluoride help enamel repair itself. So, if you suffer from having a dry mouth or are not getting enough fluoride, that could lead to tooth decay
Understanding “How Does Tooth Decay Develop?”
Visiting your dentist for a filling is one of the most effective ways of treating tooth decay. In doing so, your dentist is stopping tooth decay from developing into a more significant issue. Here are some warning signs that your tooth is developing decay:
- Constant toothache
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Noticeable holes in your tooth’s surface
- Feeling pits in the tooth giving you trouble
As part of your routine dental hygiene practices, check to see if your existing fillings have any wear and tear. It is not uncommon for the edges of a filling to become rough over time. The material of the filling can also become weak and start breaking down. If you feel rough edges or suspect the filling is weakening, it is time for dental intervention. Otherwise, those issues could mean it is more difficult to remove or prevent plaque build-up.
Do you have questions regarding the question, “How does tooth decay develop?” Are you worried that your teeth might be decaying despite your dental hygiene efforts? No one should have to go through these frustrations without receiving answers. Contact Lovett Sharpstown 972.848.8947 today to learn more about tooth decay and how we can help.