Tooth decay is damage that occurs when germs and bacteria make acids in your mouth that eat away your teeth. It can lead to a tooth hole, called a cavity. If not treated, tooth decay can cause pain, infection, and tooth loss. Bacteria and food are the leading causes of tooth decay. A sticky and clear substance known as plaque is always formed on your teeth and gums. The plaque contains bacteria that feed on the sugars in your food that you eat. As the bacteria feed, they make acids. The acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after you eat. Tooth enamel is destroyed with time causing tooth decay.
Causes of tooth decay:
Cavities are caused by tooth decay; it is a process that occurs over time. Following are the causes of tooth decay:
Plaque forms. Dental plaque is a clear sticky film that coats your teeth. This usually occurs due to intake of lot of sugar and starchy food and not cleaning teeth well after food intake. When sugars and starches aren’t cleaned off your teeth, bacteria quickly begin feeding on them and form plaque.
Plaque attacks. Acids in plaque remove minerals from your tooth’s outer enamel. This is the first stage of cavities; this erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel. Once the 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. Dentin has tiny tubes that directly communicate with the nerve of the tooth causing sensitivity.
Destruction continues. As tooth decay advances the bacteria and acid continue their destruction on your teeth taking it to the inner tooth material called pulp, it contains nerves and blood vessels. When in contact with bacteria the pulp swells up and get irritated. Because of this, there is no place for the expansion of swelling inside the tooth, the nerves become pressed and cause pain and discomfort. These discomforts can even extend to the outside of the tooth root to the bone.
If you are suffering from any dental issues such as tooth decay and pain in your teeth, it is best advised that you consult a specialist – a dentist– at the earliest.