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What Is Tooth Decay?

Updated: Nov 4

If you have been dealing with pain in your mouth or have an unpleasant taste in your mouth, you may be developing tooth decay. This common dental problem can develop at any time in one's life, both in childhood and adulthood. Fortunately, tooth decay can be effectively treated when it is detected early and treatment is offered at that time.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Normally, your teeth remain fairly clean whenever you brush and floss. If you are neglecting your proper oral health habits at home, oral bacteria can began thriving in your mouth. This type of bacteria can eventually form a sticky plaque that adheres to your teeth, secreting acidic substances that damage your tooth enamel. This is the beginning stage of tooth decay.

Tooth Decay Is a Process

Tooth decay does not occur overnight. It can actually take several months or years to result in sufficient damage to get the attention of the patient. The good news is that this condition is almost always avoidable when you are practicing proper oral hygiene that includes regular brushing and flossing. But is not uncommon for people to let the condition progress before seeking dental care.

Early Symptoms of Tooth Decay

At the start, you may only notice a white or dark spot on a tooth or a sticky sensation within your mouth. These are early indications that one or more of your teeth are beginning to weaken. If the damage is minor, your body can actually repair the problem using minerals from your bones or in your diet. When the process becomes serious enough, you will require the care of a dental professional.

Treating Tooth Decay

There are a range of available treatment options for tooth decay, regardless of its stage. Your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning, crown or filling for treating your tooth decay. You can also help at home by eating a healthy diet, using a good fluoride toothpaste, and keeping up with your regular dentist visits.

Although the accumulation of plaque can be treated by your dentist, severe gum disease is normally irreversible. This is why it is so important to spot the early signs of tooth decay before it becomes a serious condition that requires complex and expensive dental work.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is preventable. By caring for your teeth, mouth and gums, you should be able to keep tooth decay at bay. Here are some tips:

• Brush and floss your teeth. Using a good fluoride toothpaste, brush your teeth at least two times daily. Try to use dental floss once daily at a minimum. Ideally after every meal. This prevents food from becoming stuck in the spaces between your teeth, leading to a buildup of bacteria.

• Monitor your diet. The overconsumption of sugary beverages and foods feeds oral bacteria that causes tooth decay. Limit your consumption of these types of foods and drinks, and do not overdo snacking between meals.

Schedule Your Appointment

Have a qualified dentist examine your teeth for decay, gum disease, and more. At Liberia Dental Care our team is highly trained and educated to assist you. Call 703-260-1200 today! New patients are welcome.

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