Dental decay, also referred to as dental cavities or dental caries, is caused by several factors, which include eating too much of sugary diet, poor oral hygiene practices, and a broken tooth that results in bacterial growth in the mouth.
Cavity and broken tooth are one of the world’s most common dental problems. Though anyone can have a dental cavity and broken bone, they occur mostly in older adults, teenagers, and children. But anyone who has teeth can get cavities, including infants.
Untreated cavity gets larger, affect deeper parts of the teeth, and can cause tooth loss, dental infection, and severe toothache. Observing good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing twice daily, and visiting the dentist regularly for dental cleaning can help prevent tooth decay in Houston.
Signs and Symptoms of Cavity Broken Tooth
Cavity broken tooth has varying signs and symptoms, which largely depend on the location and extent of the cavity broken tooth. For instance, at the initial stage, dental cavity may not give any noticeable signs or symptoms at all. But as the cavity gets larger, prominent signs and symptoms may include:
- Severe pain when you bite down on food or eat sweet, hot or cold food
- Black, brown, or white stain on the tooth surface
- Visible pits or holes in your teeth
- Tooth sensitivity when taking hot or cold foods.
- Tooth pain or toothache that occurs without any obvious cause
When to Consult Your Dentist?
As stated above, dental decay does not have any noticeable sign or symptom at its initial stage. As a result, a patient may not be aware that he or she has a dental cavity. This is why it is very important to consult your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings, even when there is no sign of dental problem. However, if you notice any of the symptoms of broken tooth decay, visit your dentist immediately.
Causes of Dental Decay
The following describes how dental decay occurs:
Dental Plaque: This is a clear sticky film that forms on the surface of the teeth when foods, especially starchy and sugary foods, aren’t cleaned off the teeth. When this plaque remains on the teeth for a while, it hardens into tartar above and under the gum line. Tartar is more difficult to remove and becomes a shelter for bacteria.
As bacteria grow in the tartar, they release acids and other by-products into your mouth. The acids react and remove minerals in the tooth enamel (crown) causing the tooth enamel to gradually erode. After a while, this erosion creates tiny holes or openings in the tooth enamel – this is the first stage of dental decay. Once the tooth enamel is worn away, the bacteria and acid move to the dentin – the next layer of the teeth. This dentin is softer and less resistant to acid than the enamel. Hence, it is affected faster. At this stage, tooth sensitivity occurs because dentin contains tiny tubes that connect directly with the tooth nerve causing sensitivity.
The final stage of dental decay occurs when the bacteria and acids find their ways through into the inner tooth material – the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves. When it gets infected, the pulp becomes irritated and swollen from the bacterial infection. Because the tooth does not have enough room to allow the swelling pulp, the nerves and blood vessels become pressed, causing severe pains and discomfort, which may extend into the jawbone from the tooth root.
Risk Factors of Cavity Broken Tooth
Everybody is at risk of getting dental cavities as long as he or she has teeth. However, there are some certain factors that can increase the risk of having a dental cavity, these include:
- The position of the teeth: The back teeth (molar and premolar) are more likely to have dental cavities. This is because these teeth have a lot of pits, grooves, and crannies that can collect food chunks. More so, these teeth are inside and more difficult to keep clean than the smoother front teeth, which are easy to reach.
- Taking certain foods and drinks: Taking foods and drinks that stick to the teeth for a long time are more likely to cause dental cavities. These foods and drinks include chips, dry cereal, mints, hard candy, cookies, cake, dried fruit, soda, sugar, honey, ice cream, milk, etc. Frequent sipping and snacking can also increase the rate of dental decay.
- Poor oral health practices: If you don’t brush and floss your mouth adequately soon after eating and drinking, plaque will form on the tooth surface and dental decay will quickly begin.
- Not getting enough fluoride
- Keeping a broken tooth
- Dry mouth
- Worn-out dental fillings or dental devices
Dental Decay Complications:
The complications of dental decays include:
- Severe pains
- Chewing problems
- Broken or damaged teeth
- Swelling or pus around a tooth
- Tooth abscess
- Shifting of teeth after tooth loss
How to Prevent Tooth Decay in Houston
Observing the following will help you to prevent tooth decay in Houston and lead a healthy dental life:
Following proper oral hygiene practices: Doing this will help you prevent tooth decay. Though you may need to ask your dentist about the most suitable practices for you, there are some general practices which can also be followed like brushing after eating or drinking, brushing with fluoridated toothpaste at least twice daily, flossing at least twice daily or using an interdental cleaner, rinsing your mouth with mouth rinse or clean water.
Making a frequent visit to your dentist: Getting professional dental checkups and cleanings from your dentist regularly will help you to prevent dental decay.
Considering dental sealants: You may consider dental sealants for your back teeth. Dental sealants are thin protective plastic coatings that cover the chewing surface of the back teeth. The sealants help to seal off crannies and grooves that may collect food. These help to protect the teeth enamels from plaque and acids.
Drinking tap water: Most public tap water contains fluoride. The Fluoride helps to reduce the risk of dental decay significantly. So stop taking only bottled water, you may be missing out on fluoride benefits.
Considering additional fluoride treatments: In case you are not getting enough Fluoride from potable water, toothpaste, etc. your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments for you.
To know more about how to treat decayed and broken tooth, visit our dental office today.