Tooth decay is a common concept in dentistry. According to certain studies done in the U.S., about 50 percent of children and teens suffer from tooth decay. But despite the frequency of occurrence and advances in research, there is some controversy about what causes decay. Dentists in northwest Houston are no different. It is still difficult to pinpoint exactly why some people are more prone to tooth decay than others. However, there are some facts that are clear.
Tooth decay is essentially a bacterial infection so it is then transmissible. The bacteria can mix with acids from food, debris, and even saliva to create plaque. The plaque then coats the bacteria and acts as a protective shield. With the bacteria protected, it is then free to grow and eat up the tooth enamel. If this process continues, the dentin can get infected and the nerve of the tooth can be damaged.
The risks of tooth decay increases when the teeth are exposed to foods that are rich in starch and sugar. These ingredients tend to encourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria are always present in the mouth so everyone is at risk. However, there are some factors that make certain individuals more susceptible.
The overall health of a person plays a large part in how tooth decay works. If the immune system is strong, then the body is in a better position to fight off the infection. In fact, health is such a large part that the state of the teeth that illnesses during childhood can affect the person later on. High fever and even some medications can cause the teeth to become soft.
How the tooth has formed also indicates how it can tolerate decay later on. The depth and shape of the biting surfaces influences how decay will set in. If the grooves are deep, decay is more likely. Food debris is more likely to get stuck and cause an infection to set in.
Be mindful of the symptoms of decay to have a pre-emptive strike against it. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are brown stains and pain. A cracked or broken tooth can also be a sign of the onset of decay.