Dentists and health professionals warn about dental tooth decay and the negative side effects it may have on oral and overall health.
Dr. Alexander Ash of Studio Dental Care located in Studio City, CA helps to reverse and prevent tooth decay in patients as one of his general dentistry services.
What is Dental Decay?
Dental decay, or tooth decay, is medically referred to as dental caries, which is permanent damage that destroys the integrity of the tooth. Dental decay may cause pain if the decay penetrates the tooth’s enamel and dentin and reaches the nerves and sensitive tissue near the tooth’s roots.
Sticky bacteria—known as plaque—clings to teeth and, if not removed, may lead to a cavity and/or root canal. These oral issues may result from dental decay and often progress with few to no symptoms. As the decay continues, indicators may include:
- Extreme sensitivity to temperatures
- Bad breath (that may suggest excess bacteria)
- Swelling, inflamed, and tender gums
- A dark spot on the surface of a tooth
- Chalky spot on the tooth that may suggest a build-up of plaque
For further reading on dental decay, please follow the link to the ADA’s official Mouth Healthy website by clicking HERE.
How to Prevent Dental Decay
Decay occurs when too much bacteria surrounds the tooth due to excessive buildup and poor oral hygiene (i.e. no flossing, shorter brushing periods, and skipping routine dental office visits). Maintaining positive dental habits will help to prevent and even reverse decay in some patients.
By brushing at least twice daily, or 30 minutes after eating, in addition to flossing daily, the amount of bacteria and plaque in a patient’s mouth may decrease significantly. For children and young adults, using a fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash may help build strong enamel and prevent decay of the tooth enamel. Attending the dentist regularly, either every 3 months or every 6 months depending on the patient’s oral history and current dental health, will help to manage and treat dental decay.