Tooth decay

From WikiMD
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page contains changes which are not marked for translation.

Tooth decay

Decay of the teeth caused by caries, and progressing to cavities in the enamel and the dentine.

Overview

Tooth decay (dental caries) is damage to a tooth that can happen when decay-causing bacteria in your mouth make acids that attack the tooth’s surface, or enamel. This can lead to a small hole in a tooth, called a cavity. If tooth decay is not treated, it can cause pain, infection, and even tooth loss.

People of all ages can get tooth decay once they have teeth—from childhood through the senior years.

Young children are at risk for “early childhood caries,” sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay, which is severe tooth decay in baby teeth.

Because many older adults experience receding gums, which allows decay-causing bacteria in the mouth to come into contact with the tooth’s root, they can get decay on the exposed root surfaces of their teeth. Back to top

Causes

When decay-causing bacteria come into contact with sugars and starches from foods and drinks, they form an acid. This acid can attack the tooth’s enamel causing it to lose minerals.

This can happen if you eat or drink often, especially foods and drinks containing sugar and starches. The repeated cycles of these “acid attacks” will cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. Over time, the enamel is weakened and then destroyed, forming a cavity.

X-ray of tooth decay

Symptoms

In early tooth decay, there are not usually any symptoms. As tooth decay advances, it can cause a toothache (tooth pain) or tooth sensitivity to sweets, hot, or cold. If the tooth becomes infected, an abscess, or pocket of pus, can form that can cause pain, facial swelling, and fever.

Diagnosis

Tooth decay can be found during a regular dental check-up. Early tooth decay may look like a white spot on the tooth. If the decay is more advanced, it may appear as a darker spot or a hole in the tooth. The dentist can also check the teeth for soft or sticky areas or take an x-ray, which can show decay.

Treatment

Dentists commonly treat cavities by filling them. A dentist will remove the decayed tooth tissue and then restore the tooth by filling it with a filling material.

Helpful Tips

Here are some things you can do to prevent tooth decay:

  • Use fluoride, a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing, and even reverse, or stop, early tooth decay. You can get fluoride by
    • Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste.
    • Drinking tap water with fluoride.
    • Using fluoride mouth rinse.
  • Have a good oral hygiene routine. Brush teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly clean between teeth with floss or another interdental (between-the-teeth) cleaner.
  • Make smart food choices that limit foods high in sugars and starches. Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking.
  • Do not use tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco. If you currently use tobacco, consider quitting.
  • See a dentist for regular check-ups and professional cleanings.

Apple bitten.svg
WikiMD is a free medical encyclopedia and wellnesspedia moderated by medical professionals.


Topics related to Tooth decay

See other topics, articles and terms related to Tooth decay on WikiMD.

Frequently Asked Questions

Faq-icon.png

External articles

Wikipedia


Recent Articles

Most recent articles for Tooth decay:

Most Cited:

Review Articles:

Magazine Articles:

In the NEWS:

Media & Blogs

Media articles for Tooth decay:

Books and news:

BLOGS:


Health Topics: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Wellness

Scientific Articles

Evidence based medicine for Tooth decay:

Clinical trials for Tooth decay:

Resources & Links

Patient resources for Tooth decay:

Sponsored links - W8MD weight loss, sleep & medspa centers

Social media - Tooth decay
Reddit
Quora.png
Pins
Instagram
YouTube videos
Bing.png

Help WikiMD

Find something you can improve? Join WikiMD as an an editor and help improve this page or others.

Apple bitten.svg

WikiMD is a free medical encyclopedia and wellnesspedia moderated by medical professionals.


W8MD logo

Ad. Tired of being overweight?. W8MD's insurance weight loss can HELP*

Lose weight King of Prussia, PA | Lose weight NYC | Lose weight NJ | Lose weight Philadelphia | Advertise

Quick links: Medicine Portal | Encyclopedia‏‎‏‎ | Gray's Anatomy‏‎ | Topics‏‎ |‏‎ Diseases‏‎ | Drugs | Wellness | Obesity‏‎ | Metabolic syndrome | Weight loss*
Disclaimer: The entire contents of WIKIMD.ORG are for informational purposes only and do not render medical advice or professional services. If you have a medical emergency, you should CALL 911 immediately! Given the nature of the wiki, the information provided may not be accurate, misleading and or incorrect. Use the information on this wiki at your own risk! See full Disclaimer.
Link to this page: <a href="http://www.wikimd.org/wiki/Tooth_decay">Tooth decay</a>

  • Individual results may vary for weight loss from our sponsors.

Our sponsors WikiMD is supported by W8MD weight loss, sleep and medical aesthetic centers.