What is the very first thing you start with your day?
Obviously, it is brushing.
Even though it is a small routine. Its impact is very big. Not only does it freshen your breath but keeping your oral bacteria at bay.
Healthy gums and teeth go hand in hand with good oral practice. However, poor oral hygiene might put you at risk for tooth decay, which is also known as a cavity or rotten tooth.
Dentist refers to this as Dental Caries. A rotten tooth is one of the most common reasons people visit the dentist.
How Does Plaque Cause Tooth Decay?
Plaque, a sticky, white coating that forms on teeth, is what causes decay. Improper brushing won’t clean this plaque.
The bacterial plaque includes an acid that eats away at the tooth’s enamel when combined with sugar from eating. A badly decayed tooth initially causes sensitivity later on pain and swelling. Therefore it’s critical to know the signs and symptoms of a bad tooth.
Rotten Teeth Symptoms
A rotten tooth, also known as tooth decay, is an irreversible loss of organic &inorganic components of tooth structure that leads to a cavity on the tooth surface. Untreated cavities can become larger and eventually spread into the innermost layer (Pulp) of the tooth.
You can easily identify if you have rotten teeth based on the symptoms. Regular dental visits are necessary since some cavities might go undiagnosed without causing symptoms. Early detection and treatment of cavities by a dentist helps prevent future tooth decay.
- White Spots on the teeth or brown/black discoloration – Early indicator
- A small cavity or hole is present in the tooth and food accumulation.
- Bad breath
- Sensitivity to cold and sweet initially
- Sensitivity to Hot substances at a later stage
- Swelling (Abscess)
Who will get rotten teeth?
Many think it is only poor people/people with low socio-economic status who will be affected with rotten teeth. But the real fact is that even there are Hollywood celebrities with rotten teeth. They fix up their smile with dental veneers.
A decaying tooth isn’t just a concern for adults only; it may also affect babies (Nursing bottle caries) , toddlers, and children. Symptoms of Rotten teeth in kids are similar to adults, but they may additionally get swollen gums, irritability, and a fever, which signals an infection.
Rotten teeth in Children especially backside tooth (Molars) become unnoticed by parents.
Check inside your child’s mouth for symptoms of a problem if they seem irritated and can’t explain where they’re in pain or discomfort.
What Causes Rotten teeth?
There isn’t just one reason for decaying teeth; rather, there are a number of them. It is a multifactorial disease. Understanding the causes of tooth decay can help you avoid future dental issues.
Inadequate Oral Hygiene
Brushing and flossing on a regular basis are required to remove plaque and maintain the integrity of the gums and the health of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. Additionally, schedule a professional dental cleaning with your dentist twice a year.
Unhealthy Eating Habits/ Frequent Snacking
Because sugar and carbohydrates adhere to the teeth very easily, eating a high-sugar, high-carbohydrate diet can contribute to tooth decay.
Sugar feeds bacteria, and the more bacteria you have in your mouth, the more acid you have. If you eat a lot of sugary foods and don’t wash your teeth regularly, your tooth enamel, which is the outer coating of your tooth, may deteriorate faster.
Too many acidic liquids (soda and juices), as well as having acid reflux illness, can cause tooth damage. The acid in beverages has the potential to destroy tooth enamel over time. Acid reflux causes tooth enamel erosion because stomach acid flows back into the esophagus and mouth.
You could have more plaque and acid in your mouth if your salivary glands don’t create enough saliva to assist wash away plaque and bacteria, increasing your risk of tooth decay or rot.
Irregular Tooth Alignment
Gaps between the tooth, crowding/overlapping of the tooth will be difficult to clean properly. To prevent decay formation orthodontic treatment would be very helpful.
Crevices In The Teeth
If you have deep dental fissures, you may develop tooth decay. These groves can make it difficult to brush efficiently, and plaque that collects in them can eat away at the surface of your teeth. Plaque can be prevented by using a dental sealant on healthy teeth.
Deficiency In Fluoride
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and make it more cavity-resistant. Fluoride is added to public water systems, while bottled water rarely contains it. There’s a risk of tooth decay if you don’t use fluoride toothpaste or drink from your city’s water supply.
Bottle For a Baby
If your infant falls asleep with a bottle of milk, juice, or formula in their mouth, or if you dip your child’s pacifier in sugar or honey, tooth decay can develop at an early age. Sugar can collect around the teeth in both cases, causing tooth rot
How To Fix Rotten Teeth?
The management of tooth decay is similar for both children and adults, and the goal of treatment is to save the tooth
Treatment for decaying teeth in the initial stages
Your dentist may use a fluoride treatment (Fluoride Varnish) to fortify or remineralize the tooth in the early stages of a small cavity in order to reverse the cavity.
This approach, on the other hand, is only beneficial for minor cavities and is no longer useful if other indicators of severe decay, such as dark or white spots on the tooth or poor breath.
Treatment for decaying teeth in intermediate stages
If fluoride treatment isn’t an option, the dentist can remove the decayed portion of the tooth and prepare the cavity in a proper shape and form, followed by a dental filling or a dental crown. Various filling materials are available, silver amalgam, Tooth color filling materials( Glass Ionomer Cement, Composite)
Treatment for decaying teeth in advanced stages
If the decay has advanced to the innermost layer of the tooth and there is an inflammation or infection, you may need a root canal. The infected nerve and pulp are removed, and the space is then filled and sealed by your dentist.
When a tooth can no longer be salvaged owing to serious decay, your dentist may recommend extraction and replacement with a denture, bridge, or implant.
What to do when your child has severe tooth decay?
You might think a root canal is unneeded if your child has a decaying baby tooth that can’t be treated with a dental filling because it isn’t his or her permanent tooth.
However, even though a decayed tooth may eventually come out on its own, your child’s dentist may recommend a root canal to prevent the tooth from falling out prematurely. If the tooth were to come out early due to decay, it could cause their permanent teeth to be misaligned.
Keeping Rotten Teeth at Bay
Decay and rotten teeth can be avoided by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting a dentist on a regular basis. Adults and children have various approaches to prevention.
Keeping Children’s Teeth Healthy
Tooth decay can start as early as infancy, thus prevention should begin as soon as the first baby teeth show. Breast milk and formula pooling in your baby’s mouth causes baby bottle rot. By avoiding putting the baby down with his or her bottle, early deterioration in the infant’s teeth can be avoided. You can gently clean their baby teeth with your finger at this age. You can use a toothbrush as they get older while teaching them to brush their own teeth. To establish proper oral hygiene practices in your children, follow these basic guidelines:
Brushing and flossing at least twice a day should be instilled in your children from an early age.
Make sure your youngster eats a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dry cereals, pastries, cakes, and sugary drinks should be avoided because they tend to adhere to tooth enamel.
Snacking on a regular basis should be avoided.
Enamel disintegration or microscopic holes can be detected early on with regular dental examinations and cleaning procedures.
Adults Rotten Teeth Prevention
You should have adequate oral hygiene skills by the time you reach adulthood. Adults require much greater attention to oral hygiene. Permanent teeth are more durable than baby teeth, but they are also the last set of natural teeth you will have. Adults who want to avoid dental decay should do the following:
- After each meal, brush and floss using fluoride toothpaste.
- Drink plenty of water and sugar-free beverages.
- Using tap water, rinse your mouth. Fluoridated tap water is an additional source of fluoride.
- Consume nutritious foods. Fruits and vegetables are foods that are good for your teeth.
- Snacking should be limited. Snack foods attach to your teeth and speed up the deterioration of the enamel.
- Inquire about fluoride treatments or rinses with your dentist.
- Visit your dentist on a regular basis for check-up and teeth cleaning.
When To See a Dentist For A Decayed Tooth?
You may not be aware that a cavity is forming. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine.
You can obtain treatment and possibly avoid problems of a decaying tooth, such as infections and tooth loss if you are recognized early. However, if you experience a toothache or mouth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible.
Don’t ignore your regular dental checkup. Now you have one more reason to smile. Sakti Dental being a leading dental clinic offers a free dental checkup to know the insights of your oral health status. Call us to fix an appointment.
Dr. Shiva Sankar is the Clinical Director and Orthodontist at Sakti Dental Clinic, Tirunelveli with over 18+ years of experience in dentistry. He is also a Professor in the Department of Orthodontics, Rajas Dental College affiliated to, Dr.MGR Medical University. Dr. Shiva Sankar frequently publishes research papers in leading scientific national and international journals.