neglected can lead to infection, permanent destruction of
tooth surfaces, even loss of teeth !
Dental caries is a chronic
Tooth decay is a bacterial disease.
What is tooth
Tooth decay is the disease
that is not life threatening and the good news is that it is
Few people view
decay for what it is - a chronic infectious disease.
What causes tooth
It occurs when your teeth are
frequently exposed to foods containing carbohydrates such as starches
and sugars like soda pop, candy, cake and even sticky fruits.
Natural bacteria live in your mouth and form
plaque. Plaque interacts with food deposits on your teeth to produce
acid that will slowly dissolve the calcium in your teeth. The bacteria
that causes decay is know as Streptococcus mutans.
An area of decay may take as
long as 6-8 years or as short as 6 months to dissolve the outer layer
(enamel) of the tooth. If you have a "cavity" this outer layer has
collapsed producing a hole that cannot repair itself
How to have cavities:
Don't brush or floss so bacteria can make acid which
causes calcium loss from the enamel of your teeth
Eat foods with sugar between meals which produces acid
for 20 minutes. Just think of the bacteria count of your mouth after
three meals, that can equal 60 minutes of acid production a day! Try
drinking three pops and 3 cups of coffee/tea with sugar between those
meal and you will have 180 min of acid production
Don't drink water with fluoride or use any dental
products with fluoride
Snack on foods and drinks high sugar and acid to feed
the bacteria in your mouth and decrease your saliva production
Who gets cavities?
We are all at risk because of
the bacteria in our mouths. But people who eat diets high in sugar,
drink unfluoridated water, have dry mouths, take different medications;
who have a lot of fillings and who don't brush often are more at risk
for cavities. However, children are the highest
risk group for cavities. Decay that is unique to adults are:
- Root cavities-As you age, your gums can recede, leaving parts of
your tooth root exposed. Since there is no enamel covering your tooth
roots, these exposed areas easily decay. Most people over 60 have root
cavities as a result of gum disease
- Repeated decay around existing fillings-Decay can form around
existing fillings and crowns. This is because these areas are not as smooth as a
natural tooth surface and can decay easier.
What areas are
likely to decay?
The longer you wait to have a tooth
treated the more intensive, lengthy and costly the treatment will be.