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Tooth Decay
Tooth Decay is breakdown of teeth due to the activities of bacteria.
1. Tooth decay
Tooth decay camera.gif is damage that occurs when germs bacteria in your mouth make acids that eat away at a tooth. It can lead to a hole in the tooth, called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss.
A tooth camera.gif has three layers.
The hard outer layer is called enamel.
The middle layer is called dentin.
The center of the tooth is called the pulp. It contains nerves and blood vessels.
2. Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as
  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth
  • Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
  • Pain when you bite down
  • 3. Causes
    Plaque forms. Your mouth naturally contains many types of bacteria. Some thrive on food and drinks that contain certain forms of sugar. When these sugars aren t cleaned off your teeth, the bacteria quickly begin feeding on them and producing acids. The bacteria, form bacterial plaque a sticky film that coats your teeth. If you run your tongue along your teeth, you may be able to feel this plaque forming it s slightly rough and it s more noticeable on your back teeth, especially close to your gums. If the plaque is not removed while it s soft, it becomes hard and difficult to remove a good place for bacteria to hide. Plaque attacks. The acids in plaque remove minerals in your tooth s hard, outer enamel. This erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel the first stage of cavities. Once areas of enamel are worn away, the bacteria and acid can reach the next layer of your teeth, called dentin. This layer is softer than enamel and less resistant to acid.
    Destruction continues. As tooth decay develops, the bacteria and acid continue their march through your teeth, moving next to the inner tooth material pulp that contains nerves and blood vessels. The pulp becomes swollen and irritated from the bacteria. When decay advances to this extent, you may have a severe toothache, sensitivity, pain when biting or other symptoms. Your body also may respond to these bacterial invaders by sending white blood cells to fight the infection. This may result in a tooth abscess a pocket of pus that s caused by a bacterial infection.
    4. Risk factors
  • Tooth location. Decay most often occurs in your back teeth molars and premolars. These teeth have lots of grooves, pits and crannies that can collect food particles. As a result, they re harder to keep clean than your smoother, easy to reach front teeth. Plaque can build and bacteria can thrive between your back teeth, producing the acid that destroys tooth enamel.
  • Certain foods and drinks. Foods that cling to your teeth for a long time such as milk, ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, dried fruit, cake, cookies, hard candy, breath mints, dry cereal, and chips are more likely to cause decay than foods that are easily washed away by saliva.
  • Frequent snacking or sipping. When you steadily snack or sip sodas, you give mouth bacteria more fuel to produce acids that attack your teeth and wear them down. And sipping soda or other acidic drinks throughout the day helps create a continual acid bath over your teeth.
  • 5. Complications
    Cavities and tooth decay are so common that you may not take them seriously. And you may think that it doesn t matter if children get cavities in their baby teeth. However, cavities and tooth decay can have serious and lasting complications, even for children who don t have their permanent teeth yet.
    Complications may include
    Pain
    Tooth abscess
    Pus around a tooth, especially when you press on your gums
    Broken teeth
    Chewing problems
    Positioning shifts of permanent teeth after losing baby teeth prematurely When cavities and decay become severe, you may have
    Pain that interferes with daily living, preventing you from going to school or work Weight loss or nutrition problems from painful or difficult eating or chewing Tooth loss, which may affect your appearance, as well as your confidence and self esteem In rare cases, a tooth abscess that can cause serious or even life threatening infections


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