Dental decay is one of the most common oral health problems and it affects people of all ages. Symptoms of decay include tooth pain, sensitivity and the appearance of discoloured spots on the teeth.
Cavities, also known as caries, are holes, which develop in the surface of the tooth. Decay is caused by bacteria, which gradually wear down the enamel layer of the tooth. The enamel is the hard, white substance, which forms the outer layer of the tooth. Enamel is the strongest substance in the body, but it can be worn down and eroded by acids, which are produced by harmful bacteria living in the mouth.
Diet and poor oral hygiene are the major risk factors for cavities. If you neglect your oral hygiene, bacteria collect in the mouth and combine with saliva and food debris to form plaque. Plaque acids erode enamel and irritate the gums, contributing to gum disease.
How can I prevent dental decay?
A good daily oral hygiene regime will stand you in good stead, but you also need to keep an eye on the foods you consume. Sugary and acidic foods contribute to enamel wear and once the enamel is damaged, the risk of damage and infection is increased. Regular dental appointments are also really important; ideally, you should try to visit your dentist at least once or twice a year.