Having strong teeth is a necessary part of our lives, and it is vital to keep them healthy. Teeth help you grind the food you eat to make its digestion easier. They retain the structure of your face and help you pronounce different words. Aside from the practical features, teeth make you appear better, as a smile with a healthy set of pearly whites is pretty appealing. Hence, it is crucial to sustain good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay.
As you age, your teeth undergo the various stages of decay, which can cause teeth discolouration, fracture, corrosion, pain, and finally loss. Here is your guide to know about the different stages of tooth decay to figure out at which stage you’re at and tips on how to have healthy and strong teeth as you age.
Different stages of tooth decay
The white spots are the initial signs of tooth decay. They form because of the build-up of plaque and calcium exhaustion. The plaque bacteria begin metabolizing sugars from the food you consume and produce acid, which is harmful to the tooth enamel. At this stage, tooth decay can be handled and ceased through proper oral hygiene.
Decay of enamel
If the white spots continue to exist, the next stage of deterioration starts, which is the degeneration of the enamel. Beneath the surface of the tooth, the enamel begins to break, and a lesion forms. These kinds of lesions are the main cause of teeth fracture. Upon noticing such lesions, consult a professional dentist immediately.
Decay of dentin
The next stage of tooth deterioration is dentin decay. Once the lesions reach the dentin, the process of decay is quickly progressive. At this stage, cavities form which are painful. If you need dental assistance at this point, your dentist will recommend filling the damaged tooth.
Affecting of pulp
The pulp contains living cells and tissues. When the decay reaches the pulp, it is intensely painful. The decay of pulp causes pus to fill the tooth, destroying the nerves and blood vessels. You have a toothache at this stage, and the usual solution is root canal treatment.
Formation of abscesses
Because of the bacterial infection in the tooth, abscesses form and it is the final stage, which is the most excruciating. Due to the formation of abscesses, the tongue and surrounding area of the affected tooth swell up. After this stage, the tooth either falls or must be removed by a skilled dentist.
Tips to keep your teeth strong and healthy as you grow older
The good news is the progression of tooth decay is preventable if you follow the tips listed.
- Sustain proper oral sanitation by brushing your teeth twice a day. They should be brushed for 2 minutes in the morning before breakfast and at night before sleep.
- Use fluoride toothpaste for the highest protection. Also, ensure the brush you use has soft but solid bristles for deep cleaning.
- Don’t forget flossing. It helps eliminate the build-up of plaque that begins the process of tooth decay.
- Bacteria accumulate in the toothbrush over time. Alter toothbrushes or toothbrush heads (if you have an electrical brush) every three months to retain hygiene.
- Reduce the consumption of sugary food and drinks. Don’t eat too many soft drinks, desserts, juices, chocolates, etc.
- Drinking too much coffee/tea or smoking enfeeble your teeth. They cause harm to tooth enamel. Also, they cause staining, which creates yellowness or black spots.
- Keep antibacterial mouthwashes at hand. In case you eat acidic or sugary food, rinse your mouth with the wash. It can help prevent the formation of bacteria in your mouth.
- Keep yourself hydrated. Drink water to maintain your mouth clean and moist. Also, keep sugar-free chewing gums at hand to produce more saliva, which helps combat tooth decay.
- Use the right technique to brush your teeth. Moving the brush in a circular motion is suggested as it eliminates plaque more efficiently than brushing up and down.
- Don’t employ harsh chemicals to bleach the teeth or clean them. Chemicals can enfeeble the tooth’s enamel making it more vulnerable to decay.
Take professional consultation
For healthy teeth, it is imperative to make regular visits to a professional dentist. The specialist can help you learn more about dental hygiene and suggest activities to keep your teeth strong and healthy. If you have clear blackness on your teeth, bad mouth smell, sharp pain, sensitivity to hot or cold (food/drinks), or bad toothache, visit your trusted dentist at once.
Get enough calcium in your diet
Calcium has been verified to lessen bone loss and to help keep your teeth and bones strong as you age, so it’s a great idea to keep it a necessity in your diet – and there are many ways to get it, such as milk, cheese, broccoli, and almonds. If you do not like dairy or just simply can’t stand broccoli, you can also get calcium supplements to keep your levels up.
Use a fluoride toothpaste
When it comes to toothpaste, there are more significant elements to look for than bleaching power and flavours. No matter which version you select, ensure it contains fluoride.
While fluoride has come under scrutiny by those anxious about how it influences other areas of health, this substance stays a mainstay in oral health care. This is because fluoride is a major defence against tooth decay. It works by combating germs that can lead to decay, as well as providing a protective hindrance for your teeth.
Take steps to prevent oral cancer
As we grow older, the risk of oral cancer rises. Your dentist will do an oral exam for cancerous sores and abnormal tissue during your biannual dental check-up, but there are other steps you can take to protect against oral cancer.
Keeping good oral hygiene is indispensable for good health. Tooth decay, if left untreated, can help in the spreading of other sicknesses. So, make sure you use clean brushes, buy fluoride toothpaste, and use the right technique. In addition, visit your trusted dentist regularly and follow their advice carefully.