Tooth Decay (Cavities)
What is Tooth Decay ?
Tooth cavities, one of the most common health problems through out the globe, results from a bacterial infection of teeth. The oral cavity is having millions of bacteria, which generally do not harm. However, when the consumption of high sugar food and drinks increases the sugar particles are broken down in to acid by bacteria and thus starting the process of tooth decay. The acid in combination with the bacteria and small fragments of food particles produce plaque. This plaque covers the surface of teeth and start eroding the tooth enamel. The formed acid can easily damage the enamel, the hardest part of human body.
The tooth is consisting of three parts:
- The enamel – Hardest outer layer of the tooth,
- The dentin - Softer, bone-like material supporting the enamel, and
- The pulp – the centre of the tooth; made up of soft tissue and containing nerves and blood vessels.
Once the decay has occurred in the enamel, the plaque and bacteria enters the dentin. Due to softness of the structure the process of caries will begin to quicken. If a person does not seek any treatment, the cavity will enter the pulp. The nerves present in the tooth become disclosed, creating a mild to severe pain and bacteria can easily infect the pulp and surrounding structures.
This problem is very common in children and teenagers. It may also affect infants and adults. Tooth decay especially happens in the teeth present at the back of the mouth, known as the premolars and molars. Due to their size and shape it is easy for food to affix to these teeth. If these cavities are not treated timely, they get larger in size and cause severe toothache, tooth infection and even tooth loss. Regular dental clinic visits and effective brushing habits help in preventing tooth decay.
How do cavities develop ?