Simple steps like flossing and brushing make all the difference in oral health. However, 31% of adults in the UK have tooth decay, and according to the Great British Oral Health Report in 2022, 53% of the UK public have not had a routine dental checkup in the last year.
Tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss if left untreated. To help you maintain oral health and combat the risks associated with this common problem, you may contact Kai Dental.
You may also read our comprehensive guide on the signs, symptoms, and treatments of tooth decay below.
What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is caused by the buildup of plaque on your teeth, which contains bacteria that feed on sugars. This buildup leads to a breakdown in the enamel and dentin layers of your teeth, causing cavities (or holes) and further damage.
People of all ages can get cavities caused by tooth decay. Untreated tooth decay can worsen and affect deeper layers of the teeth. This can lead to severe toothache, infection, or, at worst, tooth loss.
Types of Cavities
Cavities can form in any part of your mouth, but they are most common in the back teeth. There are three types of cavities: smooth surface, pit and fissure and root.
- Smooth surface cavity: A smooth surface cavity is a small area of decay on the side or top of a tooth. They typically develop due to poor oral hygiene habits.
- Pit and fissure cavity: A pit and fissure cavity is a larger area of decay that occurs on the grooved surfaces in between teeth. This cavity is more difficult to clean because food particles get stuck in the grooves.
- Root cavities: Root cavities occur on the root surfaces below the gum line. They are caused by bacteria and acidic foods that accumulate near the tooth’s root. This type of cavity is more difficult to treat because it can be hard to reach these areas when brushing or flossing.
Tooth decay which leads to cavities can be caused by various factors:
- Bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugary or starchy food and drinks
- An accumulation of bacteria, acid, food and saliva form plaque, a sticky substance that coats the teeth
- Plaque buildup dissolves tooth enamel, creating cavities
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of cavities caused by tooth decay vary depending on the extent and location. As the cavity grows, you may experience the following:
- A visible hole in the tooth
- Tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks
- Pain when biting down on something hard
- Bad breath
Treating a cavity depends on its severity. In some cases, tooth decay can be reversed with improved oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly.
In more advanced cases, treatment may involve filling the cavities or getting a dental crown to protect the tooth from further damage. If the cavity is too severe, your dentist may recommend having the tooth extracted.
Book an Appointment with a Trusted Dentist
If you suspect you have tooth decay or a cavity, you must set an appointment with a dentist immediately. A qualified dental team can evaluate your teeth and determine the best course of treatment. Search no further than Kai Dental. Contact us today!