Can tooth decay be fixed and what can be done to treat and prevent dental cavities? While most of us understand that good oral hygiene and regular dental care are the keys to protecting our oral health, scientists continue to discover more about what causes tooth decay and the health risks associated with it.
Understanding the Tooth Decay Process
Food particles and bacteria attach to the enamel of the tooth, creating a layer called plaque. Plaque is acidic and corrodes the tooth enamel over time. Tiny holes are created in the hard surface of the tooth, forming a cavity, which is also known as dental caries.
If the cavity is not filled to protect the softer interior of the tooth, bacteria can enter the tooth and cause the tooth to become infected or rotten. Tooth loss often results from untreated decay. Badly infected teeth may require a root canal or tooth extraction to eliminate further issues. However, with regular professional dental care, it is usually possible to prevent or treat tooth decay in the early stages before it causes tooth pain, loss of a tooth, or gum disease.
Added Health Risks from Tooth Decay or Infection
Teeth that are rotten or decaying in the mouth present a serious health risk and stress on the body’s immune system. People often wonder “Can a rotten tooth cause bad breath?” While that is certainly true, there are other effects that are even more dangerous:
- ● Bone loss is a side effect of tooth decay that happens below the gum line and which increases the risk of tooth loss and impairs a dentist’s ability to use dental implants in the future.
- ● Gum recession is associated with tooth decay, making the smile appear “toothy” and increasing the risk of tooth and gum
- ● Studies have shown that people with tooth decay are at an increased risk of developing heart disease.1
- ● Chronic tooth pain can cause insomnia, poor nutrition, a depressed mood, and a reduced quality of life.
- ● A badly decayed tooth can release a serious infection into the bloodstream and cause septic shock, which can be fatal.
Preventing Tooth Decay and the Associated Health Risks
Everyone experiences some tooth decay. Taking steps like these to prevent cavities and visiting a dentist you trust for advice, diagnosis, or treatment can help prevent the health risks associated with it and keep you smiling all year long:
- ● Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste after eating or drinking will help prevent plaque buildup.
- ● Flossing your teeth and using an antibacterial dental rinse as recommended by your dentist helps prevent infections of the teeth and gums.
- ● Limiting your consumption of sugar and starch, especially sipping sugary drinks or sucking on hard candies much of the time, will improve your general health and that of your teeth.
- ● Avoiding food and drinks other than water after your last brushing of the night will assist you in keeping them clean.
- ● Using tap water that contains fluoride for flavored drinks and beverages, especially if you normally use bottled drinking water, will strengthen your teeth.
- ● Visiting your dentist at least every six months for exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, dental sealants, and other preventative measures to protect your mouth health keeps tabs on your teeth.
Treating Tooth Decay and Restoring Smiles
Consulting with an experienced cosmetic dentist can not only help you prevent tooth decay but fully recover your beautiful smile. Sadly, many people hesitate to work with the best dentist available due to embarrassment about the condition of their teeth. In reality, the more challenging the situation is, the more important it becomes to choose a dentist who specializes in dental restoration and has successfully worked with patients like you to achieve amazing results.
Dr. Goodman is a renowned cosmetic and reconstructive dentist who graduated with honors from a top dental school in Europe, and he continues to lecture and teach the art and science of cosmetic dentistry around the globe. Voted Top Dentist and Best Dentist for several years running, Dr. Goodman and his team in Beverly Hills are available to provide you the ultimate in dental care and smile restoration. Contact our friendly team at Top Beverly Hills Dentist to learn more or schedule an appointment today.