Dental decay is among the most common reasons for patients seeking emergency dental treatment in the UK.
Dental decay occurs when acids in the mouth dissolve the outer layers of the teeth. These acids develop when bacteria in the mouth utilize carbohydrates in consumed food to form plaque.
Individuals who consume large quantities of food and drink that are high in sugary or carbohydrates could see the problem exacerbating as sugary carbs provide bacteria with the energy they need.
Build up of plaque can cause a number of issues. These include the accumulation of calculus, which develops when the sticky substance hardens. When this occurs, patients may not be able to remove the harmful bacteria through simple brushing.
The structure of a tooth can be affected if a large cavity has developed on the surface. This will cause the area to weaken significantly as time progresses. The issue can continue to worsen, even without the onset of an infection. Tooth fractures are more likely to occur when a large cavity develops.
Decay can lead to a wide range of problems including toothache, tooth abscesses, difficulty in chewing and bad breath.
Minor tooth decay cases can be treated with better sugar in diet control and using high fluoride toothpaste and regular dentist reviews. Moderate tooth decay cases are usually fixed with white fillings. Whereas if the decay has advanced and reached the center of the tooth, the pulp may become infected. For this reason in advance tooth decay cases, patients may need to undergo root canal treatment to remove the inflamed or infected pulp tissue. In very advanced tooth decay cases, the tooth maybe unrestorable and tooth extraction maybe necessary.
Consuming sugars and carbs at mealtimes only and not snacking on them between meals greatly helps to reduce the risk of tooth decay developing. Patients should ideally only consume sugar free substances between meals.
Adopting an effective daily routine to maintain good oral health can be extremely beneficial in preventing tooth decay. Brushing twice a day is the most effective method of preventing the buildup of plaque. Flossing is also an effective method of removing trapped food and debris.
Using a high fluoride toothpaste will help to strengthen enamel, which can provide a natural barrier against harmful bacteria.
Visiting a dentist on a regular basis could significantly reduce the risk of developing advanced dental decay.