At Time Dental we are super keen on giving preventative advice to stop dental disease. This new series of blogs will tackle tooth decay: what it is; what causes it; how it can affect you; what is done when you get tooth decay; and how to prevent it occurring. Take it as your definitive guide. We hope you find it useful and benefit from the information. If you do please share it and forward it on to friends.
Our mouths are full of bacteria. This may come as a shock. There are hundreds of different types of bacteria on our teeth, gums, tongue and the surrounding soft tissues within the mouth. Some are good bacteria and helpful to us and some are harmful like the bacteria involved in the tooth decay process.
Tooth decay is also called dental caries or a cavity. It is a result of infection which is bacterial in origin. It can happen on any part of the tooth surface that is exposed. A person with tooth decay may not be aware of the disease. The harmful bacteria in the mouth use a process of fermentation of sugars in food debris to make acids. It is these acids that when the teeth are exposed to overtime result in cavities forming.
Throughout the day there is a continuous to-ing and fro-ing of demineralization and re-mineralization. On the harmful side there is dental plaque. This is a colourless, sticky film and with the addition of sugars and starch from the food and drink we eat produce the acids. These acids attack the outer surface of our teeth by a process called demineralization. On the helpful side are the minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate) plus fluoride from toothpaste, mouth washes, water and other sources. These help the enamel to repair itself by replacing the minerals lost during an acid attack.
Our teeth go through the natural process of losing and gaining minerals all day. It is when the balance is tipped and there is a continuous acid attack over time which results in more demineralization that results in the cavities forming.
Keep an eye out for our next post on this series!