Tooth Decay: Common Causes and Prevention Methods

When you visit the dentist’s office, your dentist will likely tell you that one of the most common causes of tooth decay is eating too much sugar. But many other things can cause it, too. In addition, many people don’t realize certain diseases put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay and other dental issues. That is why it is so important to receive quality dental care and make sure that you take proper preventative measures.

Tooth decay can lead to several health issues and the need for cosmetic dental services. Seeing a dental hygienist regularly and brushing your teeth twice daily is an excellent place to start, but there are some other things you can do alongside that to ensure proper dental care. It is essential to understand what tooth decay is and how to prevent it, so keep reading to learn more about comprehensive care that can prevent tooth decay.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is the deterioration of tooth enamel caused by bacteria. Tooth decay can lead to cavities, which are small holes in teeth that reach down into the dentin and pulp of the tooth. If left untreated, a cavity can cause severe damage, such as pain or infection. The best way to prevent tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene habits and do a great job of brushing and flossing on a daily basis while avoiding foods with high acidity.

Causes of Tooth Decay

Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, is stuck on your teeth. When you eat, the bacteria will turn the sugars from the foods and drinks into acid. These bacterial acids are then released into your mouth, which can cause tooth enamel to weaken and eventually result in a cavity.

Many patients don’t know that certain diseases and conditions put you at a higher risk for tooth decay. For example, diabetes, anemia, and eating disorders put patients at a higher risk of developing tooth decay. If you have one of these diseases, it is of the utmost importance that you are proactive with your dental health.

Dental Services For Tooth Decay

Dental patients sometimes face tooth decay. In most cases, tooth decay is caused by diet and lifestyle habits that lead to plaque buildup on the teeth. Fortunately, there are many treatments for this condition, and our dentist in Owings Mills, MD, can treat tooth decay in many ways, but it will depend on the size and location of the decay. For example, a dentist may use tools such as a scaler, an ultrasonic instrument, or a drill to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth. They may also prescribe medication for you to take at home.

These are the most common services to treat tooth decay:

  • Fluoride Treatment, which can be used if tooth decay is caught early and there is minimal decay.
  • A filling, if your tooth has a small cavity.
  • A crown may be placed if decay is not caught early and the cavity is too big for a filling.
  • Root Canal Therapy, which may be used if an infection has begun in the tooth root.
  • Extraction and dental implants if the decay is irreversible.

How To Prevent Tooth Decay

The good thing about tooth decay is that it can be preventable. The American Dental Association recommends these easy tips for preventing tooth decay:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss after every brushing.
  • Limit sugary foods and drinks.
  • Drink water that contains fluoride.
  • Schedule regular dental examinations for preventative care.
  • Consult with your dentist if sealants are a good fit for you and your children.

It is best to take these preventive measures to avoid dental emergencies. Cleaning and protecting your teeth is the best way to keep a healthy smile. At our office in Owings Mills, MD, we know that dental anxiety is common in many patients, which is a leading cause for people to avoid their regular dental visits. We offer sedation dentistry options and a relaxing environment so that our new patients have a positive dental experience. Suppose you are concerned about having your initial visit. In that case, we can assure you that you will receive treatment in a comfortable environment where you will have a great experience with the doctors at our practice.

FAQs on Tooth Decay

Does sugar cause tooth decay?

In most cases, cavities are caused by bacteria in your mouth breaking down sugars from food or drinks into acids which then attack the tooth enamel and eventually lead to cavities. Sugars break down into acids more quickly than other foods and beverages, so you need to be mindful of how much sugary food you’re eating daily. If you crave sugar often, it’s a great practice to get in the habit of brushing your teeth immediately after eating sugary foods or drinking sugary drinks.

Can my tooth recover from tooth decay?

The first step to recovery is getting a filling or root canal and then waiting for the tooth to heal and form a protective enamel layer. There are many other ways that your dentist can repair teeth, like bonding and veneers, but those treatments will not protect against future cavities and fillings, or root canals do. In addition, if your oral hygiene habits are left unchanged, you will likely continue to see tooth decay over time.

Can it be treated in a dental office?

Absolutely! Tooth decay can become worse and more challenging to treat the longer it goes untreated. Some treatments can require a filling, crown, porcelain veneers, or implant, which can all be done in our office in Owings Mills.

Will dental insurance cover the cost?

Dental insurance providers have different policies for how they pay for services. The best way to find out if you are eligible is to contact your provider and ask what type of coverage you have. Not all dental providers accept every plan, so it’s wise to call before scheduling an appointment, just in case. We also offer other payment options. If you want to know more about payment for your dental service, you can contact our office before your first appointment, and our office staff will go over your options.

Will I have to get dental implants if I have tooth decay?

If the tooth decay is severe enough to require a total extraction, your dentist may suggest dental implants to replace the missing teeth. Dentists often recommend getting a dental implant when teeth are beyond endodontic therapy (example: root canal). This is because it has been proven to significantly increase the chances of success with placing an implant post in patients who have had endodontic treatment on one or more teeth. We use the most advanced technology for dental implants, so if you require an implant to improve the health of your smile, we’ll make sure to help you meet your oral health and cosmetic goals.

Schedule a Preventative Cleaning With Our Dentist: Owings Mills, MD General Dentistry

Preventative cleanings are an essential part of dental care and our overall health. Preventative cleanings can eliminate many dental health problems by removing plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth before they turn into cavities or gum disease. They also help keep your gums healthy and strong so that you’re less likely to experience tooth loss due to periodontal disease.

At McDonough Dental, we offer comprehensive dental care and ensure our patients have a great experience. Our staff in Owings Mills specializes in general prevention, sleep apnea treatment, and cosmetic dentistry. We offer everything from routine dental cleanings, tooth restorations, and cosmetic services like teeth whitening. Whatever your teeth may need, our friendly staff is here to help. Contact our dental office in Owings Mills, MD, to schedule a dental appointment today so that we can get your oral health on the right track.