For tooth decay to develop, a combination of factors is necessary. What many people do not know is that tooth decay is an infectious disease. That means that you can get infected with tooth decay from other people, often in childhood. This is done through shared cutlery, pacifiers that the mother cleans with her mouth, kissing, etc. However, the good news is that, with good oral hygiene, the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay can be eliminated effectively.
At the beginning of tooth decay, plaque starts to gather if optimal dental care is not performed (tooth brushing, flossing, mouthwash rinsing). This plaque consists of food residues, saliva components, bacteria, and their metabolic products. This biofilm offers bacteria ideal conditions to thrive and they start to multiply quickly. When this biofilm is not removed, tooth decay is almost inevitable. The tooth enamel is demineralized by the permanent acid load under the plaque (especially calcium and phosphate) and becomes softer and softer until it completely dissolves in some places, creating holes. Without the protective enamel, caries have a direct path into the dentin and pulp which leads to serious complications.
Tooth decay is a contagious disease, but not a hereditary disease. However, genetic predispositions can slow or accelerate the development of tooth decay. For example, a tooth shape with deep tooth fissures can promote the development of caries, since food particles may get easily trapped in such teeth and are more difficult to clean. Misaligned teeth have the same effect, in which the teeth are harder to clean in some places and plaque can develop more easily. Also, the saliva of some people has a significantly lower pH than that of others. Since a low pH value adds to the effects of acids from food, this can contribute to the development of tooth decay.
How to prevent tooth decay
To prevent tooth decay, good oral hygiene must be maintained. We recommend you thoroughly clean your teeth several times a day with a high-quality toothbrush and toothpaste. The spaces between the teeth should also be cleaned with dental floss or an interdental brush at least once a day. Regular use of a mouthwash is also recommended.
Get affordable treatment for tooth decay today
If you are suffering from toothaches, discolored teeth or have bad breath, you may be at risk of tooth decay. To learn how you can get a comprehensive oral exam and affordable treatment for tooth decay, get in touch with us today.