If you’ve been experiencing pain in your mouth or a chalky taste, there is a good chance you’re suffering from tooth decay. This dental problem can strike you at any time in your life, showing up in both childhood and adulthood.

So, how does it all begin?

Over time, your teeth begin to lose calcium and the enamel starts to break. This creates a welcome environment for the build-up of plaque, an acid-producing film that coats your teeth. When left untreated, the acidic properties in the plaque begins strip away your teeth’s defense and deteriorate your enamel.

Understanding the Tooth Decay Life Cycle

Tooth decay doesn’t simply happen overnight. In fact, it can take months or even years for this problem to cause enough damage for patients to take it seriously. It is a gradual process that could almost always be avoided if you’re proactive with your dental care. Unfortunately, many people let the symptoms progress before seeking the treatment they need.

In the beginning, you may just notice a sticky sensation in your mouth or a white spot on your tooth. This is a warning sign that your tooth or teeth are starting to weaken from the inside out. Early on, your mouth will work to naturally repair the problem with the minerals in your mineral in your bones and teeth. However, once the decay gets severe enough to break through the surface of your enamel, the damage will require the attention of a dental professional.

Eventually, the decay may reach the roots and nerves in your teeth. Older dental patients may experience this experience this problem even if they were proactive with their dental care because dental fillings tend to weaken over time. You may notice more tooth sensitivity when your mouth is exposed to hot or cold temperatures.

How to Fix Tooth Decay

There are a number of treatment options available to patients with tooth decay, regardless of the stage it’s in. Your dentist may suggest a deep cleaning, filling, or crown to treat the problem. Additionally, there are some best practices you can follow at home to minimize the damage and promote your oral health. Sticking to a healthy diet, using a fluoride toothpaste, and checking in with your dentist regularly have all proven to be beneficial.

While plaque build-up is treatable by a medical professional, severe gum disease is generally not curable. That’s why it is crucial to recognize tooth decay early on and tackle the problem at its core. It is always best to get the opinion of a specialist if you’re feeling any type of pain or discomfort in your mouth, as this could be an indicator of a more serious dental problem in the works. Contact our industry experts today to discuss how regular oral examinations and professional cleanings can help protect your dental health.