Tooth decay is the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. To repair a cavity, the decay must be removed and replaced with a manmade substance.
There are different types of materials used to fill cavities, including gold and metal alloys.
If you have ever had tooth decay, you should know:
- Tooth decay is one of the most common of all diseases, second only to the common cold.
- Tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children ages 2 to 5, half of those ages 12 to 15, and more than 90 percent of U.S. adults over age 40.
- Tooth decay causes pain, suffering and disability for millions of Americans each year — even more disturbing, tooth decay is preventable.
- If it is not treated, in extreme and rare cases tooth decay can be deadly. Infection in an upper back tooth can spread to the sinus behind the eye, from which it can enter the brain and cause death.
- Tooth decay is an infectious process caused by acid-producing bacteria. Your risk for decay can be assessed in our office with a simple test for specific bacterial activity.
- Three factors are necessary for tooth decay to occur: susceptible teeth, acid-producing bacteria and a diet rich in sugars and refined carbohydrates.
- Babies are not born with decay-causing bacteria in their mouths; the bacteria are transmitted through saliva from mothers, caregivers, or family members.
- Fluoride incorporated into the tooth structure protects teeth against decay by making the enamel more resistant to acid attack.
- Sealants, which close up the nooks and crannies in newly erupted teeth, stop bacterial collection where a toothbrush can’t reach. Teeth with sealants have been shown to remain 99 percent cavity-free over six years.
- Restricting sugar intake is important in preventing tooth decay. Your total sugar intake should be less than 50 grams a day (about ten teaspoons) including sugars in other foods. A can of soda may have six teaspoons of sugar — or more!
Contact us today to schedule an appointment and discuss possible tooth decay issues. We are accepting new patients!
You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay – The World’s Oldest and Most Widespread Disease.”
About Southport Dental PC
New patients are always welcome. We will not make you wait weeks to get the dental visits you want. Let us know what you want to accomplish at your first visit and we will make it happen! We take the time with our patients to explain their treatment options and inform them of additional preventive care.
Contact us today to learn more.