The gradual process of tooth decay causes dental cavities. It is possible to interrupt the tooth decay process and reverse it to avoid cavities. We will cover how tooth decay is initiated, how you can reverse it, and treatment options available if you are unable to intervene in time.

What Happens Inside Your Mouth

The harmful bacteria in your mouth are responsible for tooth decay. The bad bacteria consists of dental plaque- a colorless stick layer of bacteria-combined with sugary/starch foods and drinks. When you drink or eat anything starchy or sugary, the harmful bacteria uses them to produce acids that start to eat way the enamel of your tooth.

Your mouth consists of a defense mechanism consisting of minerals found in your saliva-phosphate and calcium- and fluoride in water, toothpaste, and other sources. These elements help repair your enamel by replacing the minerals it loses following an acid attack. The teeth continue with this process of losing and regaining minerals throughout the day.

How Cavities Develop

When your tooth is frequently exposed to acid, for example, if you indulge in starchy or sugary foods or drinks often, the continued process of acid attacks causes your enamel to continue losing minerals. A white spot usually appears in the area where minerals have been lost and signals the beginning of tooth decay. Overtime, the enamel becomes weak and is destroyed resulting in a cavity.

How to Reverse the Decay Process

The most effective way of reversing tooth decay is by using fluoride. This mineral protects teeth by:

  • Replacing lost minerals
  • Reducing the ability of bacteria to produce acid

The main sources of fluoride are fluoridated water and fluoride toothpaste.

Treatment Options for Tooth Decay

  • Fluoride treatments: These are used during the early stages of tooth decay. Professional fluoride treatment has more fluoride than water, mouth rinses, and tooth paste.
  • Filling: This treatment is for decay that has gone beyond the early stage of enamel erosion. Fillings can be made of different materials including porcelain and resins.
  • Crown: This is a custom fitted covering for replacing your tooth’s natural crown. Your dentist will drill away the affected area and fit in the crown. This treatment is used for extensive decay.
  • Root Canals: When decay penetrates the inner part of your tooth, a root canal is the appropriate treatment. The dentist will remove the diseased pulp and replace the pulp with a filling. This procedure is used instead of extraction to save a badly damaged tooth
  • Extraction: In cases of severe tooth decay, the best option is extraction of the infected tooth.

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