Dentists recommend 2 checkups per year. Book Your Checkup Today.
(281) 801-6818

How Does Tooth Decay Develop?

How Does Tooth Decay Develop?
Laughlin Dental
Hello, Pasadena! At Laughlin Dental, we're not just about teeth. We're about building lasting relationships with every patient who walks through our doors. Led by Dr. Lloyd Laughlin, our practice is dedicated to providing judgment-free, quality dental care that's accessible to everyone.
BY Laughlin Dental

Tooth decay occurs when tooth care is inadequate. It’s also caused by other factors. Some of these factors include the foods we eat, oral hygiene, and inadequate fluoride. Additionally, just by the nature of their family genes, some people suffer more decay in their teeth.

Risk Factors and Types of Tooth Decay

Both adults and children suffer decay, but children experience more cavities. There are several types of cavities in teeth, including:

Coronal Cavities: This is the most common type of tooth decay in people of all ages. This decay is usually on the chewing surfaces or between teeth.

Root Cavities: In aging, our gums recede and expose parts of our teeth. Enamel does not protect roots, so these areas are more prone to decay when they are exposed.

Recurrent Decay: This decay forms on fillings and crowns of teeth where plaque accumulates.

For adults, cavities become a problem during dry mouth conditions caused by a lack of saliva. Illness, medications, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and other conditions cause dry mouth.

Decay is always serious. Left untreated, cavities can develop and destroy teeth while killing nerves at their core. This leads to an abscess, which is an infection on the root tip. There are only three ways to treat an abscess. Those include root canal, surgery, or tooth extraction.

Cavity Detection and Prevention

Your dentist will identify decay for you. Without a dental exam, you can’t know for sure if you have one. Cavities aren’t always visible to the naked eye because they develop under the surface.

No matter where cavities form in your mouth, routine dental care is the best means of preventing and treating them. It’s possible to prevent decay before it becomes serious. This is why it is so important to maintain your schedule of routine dental exams and regular dental cleanings.

To keep decay from forming in your teeth, you must brush your teeth twice daily. Flossing is another important daily routine. These oral hygiene methods remove decay-inducing plaque from between teeth and just below the gumline. As previously mentioned, you also need regular dental exams, including preventive care.

You must also eat a well-balanced diet with as little starchy, sugary foods as possible. You should eat these carbohydrates and sugars with your meal instead of snacking on them. This reduces the exposure of your teeth to harmful acids.

Fluoride should be in your oral hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash. Children need to drink fluoridated water. Some communities do not add fluoride to water, so many dentists prescribe daily fluoride supplements for children.