Tooth Decay

Dentist in Warren, NJ

Tooth Decay

Tooth  decay, also known as dental caries, is one of the most prevalent  diseases affecting both children and adults and is second only to the  common cold in frequency. According to the World Health Organization  60-90% of children worldwide, and nearly 100% of adults have dental  cavities. Although tooth decay is a worldwide epidemic, it is also a  condition that is largely preventable with effective oral hygiene  practices, a healthy diet as well as routine checkups and professional dental cleanings.

What causes cavities?

Tooth decay  is the result of a process that causes progressive damage to tooth  structure. The culprit behind all of this is dental plaque, a sticky  film that accumulates on teeth and harbors harmful bacteria that thrive  on sugar. As these bacteria metabolize sugar, they produce acids, which  over time can de-mineralize or eat away at healthy tooth structure. A  cavity begins as a simple pinpoint defect on the outermost enamel layer  of the tooth but if left untreated will continue to compromise healthy  tooth structure, eventually working its way through the inner layer of  dentin to the nerve and vital tissues inside the tooth. Depending on the  extent of the damage to the tooth, a cavity can cause anything from  periodic, mild tooth sensitivity to extreme and continuous discomfort. Seeing a dentist for the  treatment of tooth decay is essential to prevent damage to the nerve of  the tooth, a dental infection, tooth loss, or more serious consequences  to one’s overall health.

Factors that can increase one’s risk of developing tooth decay include the following:

For patients at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, special toothpastes and fluoride rinses and other supplemental measures may provide an added level of protection.