The Process of Tooth Decay
Posted on 4/15/2020 by Dr. Jon Packman
|Most people don't realize that a cavity starts far before you see it on an x-ray or even notice that black spot between two teeth. They begin over time as sugar and other food are broken down in the mouth by saliva and deposited against the tooth. Due to poor brushing, flossing, or a hard to reach crevices in your teeth, the bacteria piles up.
How Does Tooth Decay Begin?
The beginning of tooth decay starts when the amount of sugar and acids surrounding your tooth enamel is greater than the saliva is available to wash it away. Bacteria and sugars are playing tug of war with saliva and fluoride. Sugar and bacteria attach to the exterior of the tooth and form plaque. The plaque works its way through the enamel to the tooth's porous exterior. This can be seen beginning as a white spot on the tooth. It darkens to brown, eventually turning black.
Can You Reverse the Decay Process?
Depending on the stage of decay can determine if you can reverse it without professional care. Brushing with a good fluoride tooth brush, flossing, and following up with a good fluoride mouth wash will slow the decay process until you can see our office. When caught early enough, we can avoid drilling and fillings by cleaning the tooth and either applying a dental sealant or gel fluoride.
If you notice in your mouth has white spots on the tooth, it is an early sign of enamel wear and tear. You may not visually have clues. A sharp pain in the tooth when eating without any noticeable reason is a sign a cavity is beginning. Another sign is when drinking either hot or cold liquids, your teeth feel sensitive and painful.
This usually will also occur when eating something extra sugary. It's recommended you see the dentist every six months, however when in doubt, schedule an appointment. It is possible to reverse the beginning of decay when caught early enough. Give us a call today to schedule an exam.