Tooth Decay Causes and Risk Factors


Cavities: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Prevention, Treatment

A toothache may be the result of irritation of gum tissue. In such cases, the symptoms are mild and can be treated at home. However, excruciating pain usually suggests serious problems like tooth decay or the onset of gum disease. Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC is committed to Compassionate Endodontics, including minimally-invasive root canals and treatment for dental trauma and infections.

What causes tooth cavities?

Tooth cavities develop when bacteria in the mouth accumulate and release acids. The acids erode the tooth’s enamel creating holes and making the tooth susceptible to chipping or breaking.

Your endodontist will recommend brushing your teeth twice daily or after every meal. Flossing is also crucial for removing food debris stuck between the teeth.

Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, but they are more common in children. The high prevalence in the younger population is often due to consuming foods and drinks with high sugar content.

American adults have an 80% chance of developing cavities before they turn 30. Lifestyle factors like heavy smoking and drinking may increase the prevalence in adults.

Tooth decay usually develops on the lower parts of the teeth during adulthood. The gum line is more likely to recede, exposing the tooth’s root to cavities.

Risk factors for tooth cavities

Besides poor dental hygiene and sugary foods, cavities may develop for various reasons. Bacteria can accumulate in the molars due to inadequate brushing and flossing. The grooves on the tooth’s surface can allow food debris to collect, increasing the risk of enamel erosion.

Since the molars are harder to keep clean, your dentist may recommend dental sealants. Sealants cover the grooves to prevent food debris from accumulating on the surface. The treatment is often prescribed for children but is suitable for adults susceptible to tooth decay.

A dry mouth can also increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva washes away bacteria and dissolves the acids produced by cavity-causing bacteria.

A dry mouth may occur due to medication, old age, or smoking. Conditions like diabetes and yeast infections could cause dry mouth. A habit of breathing through the mouth is also a factor that increases the risk of mouth dryness.

Teeth grinding or bruxism is another risk factor for tooth decay. The continuous friction between the teeth erodes the enamel to form cavities. Research suggests sleep bruxism affects 8% of the adult population in the US.

Treatment options for tooth cavities

Your endodontist can treat mild cases of tooth deterioration with fluoride solutions. The solution can reverse the decay if the treatment is administered at the onset of cavities.

Dental fillings can also fix minute fractures in the enamel. Covering the hole also prevents infection of the tooth’s pulp.

Your endodontist may prescribe a root canal procedure if the pulp is infected. The process involves removing the pulp and nerve endings to relieve pain and eliminate infections. An extraction is necessary only when the tooth is damaged beyond repair.

Contact Compassionate Endodontists New York/NYC to schedule an endodontic appointment today.

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