What you need to know about - tooth decay
Tooth decay describes the condition wherein the tooth, under a variety of harsh conditions, breaks down leading to the formation of a cavity. It starts with a hole/opening in the enamel. If this is not treated, it progressively reaches the deeper sections of the tooth, where the pulp and the nerves are causing the tooth to become sensitive to a variety of stimuli, a variety of gum problems such as inflammation and swelling, pain and ultimately tooth loss. Tooth decay is a common dental ailment that may occur at any time or time or age.
What is baby bottle tooth decay:
A serious form of tooth decay affects nursing infants and is called nursing caries or baby bottle tooth decay. In infants who are nursed continuously with a bottle/formula milk/ pacifiers; the milk is retained in the mouth as the child falls asleep with the bottle. This milk is an excellent nutritive media for a variety of gems present in the mouth. the milk is broken down by the germs to form harsh acids which lead to the formation of a cavity on the tooth.
What are the causes of tooth decay:
1. Poor oral hygiene: irregular & improper brushing, not flossing between teeth, not rinsing with water or mouthwash after meals speed up the process of tooth decay.
2. Unregulated diet of sweet food and drinks: periodic snacking on aerated drinks, jam, marmalade, even potato chips can lead to the formation of acidic by products which damage the surface of the tooth enamel.
3. Bad or worn out dental fillings: tooth decay might develop again from exposed tooth surfaces.
What can i do if i have tooth decay :
If you have developed black or brown spots of decay on your teeth either in the fissures or on the smooth surfaces and it is associated with discomfort and /or sensitivity to hot and cold and / or frank pain, it is likely that you have tooth decay. Your dentist will evaluate you comprehensively and based on his clinical and radiographic findings he will do one of the following:
1. Make an opening in the crown and remove decay, shape the cavity and fill it with a tooth coloured filling or an amalgam filling. This could also be done under local anaesthesia.
2. If the dacay is very deep and the pulp (never, root canal) is involved in the decay process he will, under local anaesthesia go deeper into the pulp chamber, remove the pulp and the nerve, render it free of infection, do a root filling and later put an amalgam or a tooth coloured filling. Subsequently he will put a veneer or a crown on the tooth as the case may be.
prevention is the best cure for tooth decay:
Certain preventive measures are known to reduce the risk of tooth decay. You must practice these good dental habits:
1. Brushing: brush your teeth twice a day. Hold a soft a brush at the gum line at a 450 angle. Brush in a circular motion to massage the gums and an up-down motion to dislodge plaque. Do this gently on the outer as well as inner surfaces of teeth.
2. Choose the right tooth brush: dentists recommend using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months or as soon as it loses it's original shape. once a brush loses its shape, you require more pressure for the same cleaning action. This extra pressure is damaging to gums as well as the protective enamel layer.
3. Floss: floss daily to remove plaque from between teeth. Take about 180 of floss and wrap most of it around your middle finger and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand, leaving a 20 length between them. Using your thumb and forefinger, gently scrape the side of each tooth away from the gum.