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Tooth Decay: Everything You Need to Know

Tooth decay is a term that gives most people visions of rotted, missing, or deformed teeth. However, tooth decay is a common occurrence that can happen to just about anyone, no matter how strict your oral hygiene regimen may be. The decaying of healthy teeth is a process that happens over an extended period of time and can even lead to potentially fatal consequences. In order to protect your smile from the damaging effects of tooth decay, it’s crucial to understand what it is, why it happens, and what warning signs you should be aware of.

What Is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay commonly refers to damaged areas of the teeth that result in tiny holes or cavities. This process usually happens in stages as the tooth slowly begins to lose its protective layer of enamel and the cavity expands even deeper into the tooth.

How Does Tooth Decay Happen?

Tooth decay can be caused by several factors, but the most common cause is bacteria. When harmful bacteria builds up in the mouth, it can eat away at your tooth’s enamel and create a cavity. Another potential cause of tooth decay is the consumption of overly sugary drinks and snacks. Sugar can cause the protective layer on your teeth to be weakened and might allow more harmful bacteria to take root.

What Are The Effects of Tooth Decay?

In the early stages, tooth decay can cause an unsightly appearance for your smile. You may begin to notice areas of discoloration on your teeth or even the beginnings of visible cavities. These minor cavities can cause tooth or gum pain and might make your teeth more sensitive to very hot or cold foods. If not treated properly, cavities will continue to expand and can result in the need to remove any affected teeth and leave you with gaps in your bite. In extreme cases, tooth decay can cause a potentially fatal blood infection. If the cavity reaches far enough down into the root of your tooth, it can allow dangerous bacteria to enter your bloodstream and cause an infection that spreads throughout your body.

What Are Symptoms of Tooth Decay?

If you want to ensure that your teeth are in good health, there are a few tell-tale symptoms that can indicate you might be dealing with tooth decay.

  • Visible signs of decay such as yellow teeth, discoloration, or small holes
  • Increased sensitivity to very hot or cold drinks and foods
  • Bad breath
  • Tooth pain
  • Redness or swelling along the gumline
  • A strange, metallic taste in your mouth

What Should I do If I Have These Symptoms?

When it comes to tooth decay, it’s important to act quickly and enlist the help of your dentist to properly treat the affected tooth and prevent worsening decay. Dr. Julie Liberman DDS of Great Neck Dental Care NY proudly serves patients of all ages in the Great Neck area, spanning New Hyde Park, Floral Park, Douglaston, Jericho, Roslyn, etc. Book your checkup today to see how you can protect your smile from tooth decay.

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Merrick, NY