Fresno Dental

Fresno Dentists Discuss the Formation of Tooth Decay

fresno_tooth_DecayTooth decay affects over 90% of the American population before they reach the age of 60. Cavities are so common that the mention of them rarely produces an ominous feeling. However, the havoc that untreated cavities wreak on your oral health can irreversibly damage more than just one tooth. To help raise awareness of the dangers of cavities, your dedicated Fresno dentists Dr. Alex Denes and Dr. Claudia Denes explain how tooth decay forms, and how you can help protect your teeth against it.

The Tooth Decay Germ

While sugar plays a large role in the formation of cavities, it is not the main culprit as some believe. Certain bacteria in your mouth, mainly Streptococcus mutans, feed on the sugars you eat and convert them into lactic acid. The organic acid, not the sugar, is what weakens your tooth enamel (the protective layer of tissue that surrounds your tooth). Acids also sap minerals from your teeth (demineralization), making it impossible for a tooth to strengthen its enamel through mineral absorption (remineralization). Some foods and beverages naturally contain acid, in which case bacterial metabolization is skipped and the acid directly proceeds to attacking your tooth enamel.

The Tooth Decay Process

As acid attacks, small holes begin to form in your enamel (demineralization is the earliest stage of tooth decay . These holes, or cavities, provide hiding spots for bacteria to rest, out of reach of your toothbrush’s bristles. Undisturbed, these tucked-away bacteria continue to produce acid to further erode your enamel. Once your tooth’s protection has been considerably weakened, bacteria can slip past to the interior of your tooth, causing an infection that can eventually destroy your tooth, if not treated.

Tooth Decay Treatment/Prevention

Tooth decay can be treated a variety of ways, depending on the severity of your case. If detected in its mildest stage, before your enamel has been destroyed, decay can typically be treated and the damage reversed with an improved oral hygiene regimen. Brushing and flossing at least twice a day will help limit the bacterial population in your mouth, minimizing the amount of acid that they are able to produce and reducing your risk of developing tooth decay. As decay progresses, treatment options become more invasive, and severely advanced cavities often require a root canal treatment or total extraction to prevent the spread of infection to other teeth.

Good Oral Health

Before decay begins its attack on your teeth, be mindful of what’s going on in your mouth. To learn more about optimizing your oral health, make an appointment with your Fresno family dentists by calling Fresno Dental Studio at (559) 297-1800. Located in the 93720 area, we proudly serve patients from Fresno, Clovis, Mendota, Orange Cove, Reedley, Selma, and the surrounding areas.

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