How To Prevent Tooth Decay From Spreading
Believe it or not, tooth decay is contagious and can spread throughout the mouth if not treated properly. Dental decay can be painful and cause a lot of discomfort for most patients. Aside from the uncomfortable feeling, tooth decay can lead to serious health complications down the line, such as periodontal disease.
How Does A Cavity Develop
Dental decay refers to the destruction of the tooth and its enamel caused by food debris left on a patient’s teeth. Carbohydrates, which contain a combination of sugar and starch, clings to the tooth. During digestion, the bacteria inside of the mouth breaks the food down into acid. This acid, when combined with bacteria in the mouth, food debris, and saliva, turns into dental plaque. Plaque contains acid that can severely damage the tooth and dissolve the tooth’s protective enamel, leaving it exposed to harmful bacteria and other substances.
Symptoms and Signs of Tooth Decay
If you are experiencing the following symptoms, you may be suffering from a cavity or tooth decay. In other cases, a patient may be experiencing tooth decay and not even know it. Please schedule an appointment with your dentist if you experience any of the following or have not received dental care in the last six months:
- Pain or sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods and beverages
- Brown or black stains on the teeth
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Ongoing toothaches
- Visible hole(s) on the tooth
How To Prevent Tooth Decay from Spreading
While a comprehensive oral care routine is the best way to prevent tooth decay from spreading, or even occurring in the first place, there are other preventative steps patients may take in order to protect their teeth from severe damage:
Rinsing after certain foods: If you find yourself indulging in sugary or acidic foods, or foods containing a lot of carbohydrates, rinse your mouth with water immediately after.
Avoid brushing immediately after consumption: After consuming acidic foods or foods high in sugar, wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth. If you brush your teeth too soon, the acid left behind can wear down the tooth’s enamel. That’s why it is best to rinse your mouth with water directly after eating, and then wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth.
Dental Sealants: Dental sealants are plastic protective coatings placed on the chewing surface of your teeth. These coatings serve as an additional layer of protection against tooth decay.
If you or a loved one suspect you may be experiencing tooth decay or a dental cavity, please call Dr. Ema at Printers Row Dental Studio and Chicago Veneers: (312) 435-0411.