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At first tooth decay does not cause any particular disturbance, not manifesting the initial symptoms until they have already reached an advanced stage. This why it is very important to have periodic check-ups. The following article describes the characteristics of this condition and what to do to be able to deal with it …


What is tooth decay?

It is a condition that affects the hard tissues of the tooth: the enamel and the dentin. It originates on the surface, eventually reaching the pulp. During the initial phase it eats through the enamel, the outermost portion of the tooth, after which it strikes the dentin, burrowing its way through to the pulp.

During the initial phase, tooth decay does not cause any particular disturbance, but once it gets to the pulp, it begins forming a dark recess made of dispersed dental tissue and food particles.

The symptoms of full-fledged decay start to make themselves felt once it reaches the pulp of the tooth, leading to pain, heightened sensitivity and bad breath.


How decay arises

Tooth decay can have a number of different causes. For the most part it occurs when the demineralisation of the enamel is more rapid than the renewal of the enamel’s mineral content.

Demineralisation takes place when sugars come into contact with bacteria, releasing acids that corrode the enamel. The mineral content is renewed by fluoride, which reinforces the outermost layer of the enamel, a process to which the saliva contributes by removing sugars and limiting acidity.

This is why excessive eating of sugary foods, together with inadequate oral hygiene, can lead to tooth decay.

To sum up, a number of different factors contribute to the formation of tooth decay and to the processes that fight it. On the one hand, bacteria and sugars cause decay, while, on the other, saliva, oral hygiene and fluoride can protect us against it.


How to treat tooth decay

Tooth decay is treated by removing the decayed tissue with mechanical instruments designed for the purpose and then filling the resulting cavity. Today the most advantageous and effective technique for filling cavities is the dental inlay.

The best medicine against tooth decay is always prevention, in the form of proper oral hygiene, which means removing bacteria plaque and the remains of food from the mouth.

This is why it is very important to brush teeth a number of times each day, and especially in the evening, before going to bed, seeing that the remains of food, when they come not contact with bacteria, are transformed into acids able to dissolve the enamel.

Apart from oral hygiene, other factors that contribute to prevention include proper nutrition and periodic check-ups.

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