Why Tooth Decay is so Destructive and what you can do about it

tooth decay is destructivePoway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Tooth decay can start a chain reaction of catastrophic events in your mouth. It literally could kill you. Sound crazy? We aren’t joking. Tooth decay is caused by harmful bacteria that if ignored, could cause an abscess, which is an infection that could spread to your heart or brain. Nearly 90% of adults develop a cavity at some point in their life. Why is tooth decay so destructive, and what can be done about it? Family dentist in Poway, Dr. Nicol Cook, has some answers for you.

What’s the problem?

Tooth loss is a huge threat when it comes to cavities. But, if caught early and treatment is sought, tooth decay can be stopped in its tracks and repaired. While oral hygiene, or the lack thereof, is often to blame for cavities, there is something else that people don’t realize is also to blame – what they eat. What you eat has a lot to do with what happens in your mouth. A diet high in sugar or carbohydrates can increase your risk of cavities. Foods such as chips, crackers, and bread, all are sticky and remain stuck to the teeth after consumption. Bacteria thrive on these substances and secrete acids that erode dental enamel as they process the food left behind after you eat.

The best defense

Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting your teeth cleaned at the dentist twice a year are excellent ways to safeguard your oral health. But, so is eating a balanced diet. Try to limit or avoid eating sugar or carb-loaded foods. If you do eat these foods, just be sure to brush afterward or at least rinse out your mouth with water. Finishing meals by eating crisp, crunchy raw fruits or veggies, such as apples or carrots, can also be helpful in fighting against bacteria that cause tooth decay. While snacking on these foods are helpful, they should not replace your normal oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing daily.

What to do if you get a cavity

Cavities are typically not symptomatic in the early stages. You may, however, notice a grey or black spot on your tooth, but you probably won’t feel anything at first. Eventually, as the decay spreads deeper into your tooth, you may feel sensitivity or even pain. If the cavity is not treated at this point, you could risk developing an infection or abscess that could potentially be dangerous for your health, even causing death, although rare. If you suspect that you might have a cavity, get it checked by the dentist. If you already are experiencing pain in a tooth, do not ignore it, get it checked also.

The best course of action in preventing decay, or keeping it from getting worse, is to get it treated, and then practice prevention by taking good care of your teeth and gums. This is one of the main reasons why preventive care is so important. Resist the urge to skip your dental cleanings and checkups, because it’s during these appointments that oral health concerns like cavities are discovered.

Get a cavity filled in Poway

To learn more about how to protect your oral health, or to schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California.

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