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Dr. Daniel A. DelCastillo, DMD PA
Dr. Michael Maya, DMD
925 Arthur Godfrey Rd, #302 Miami Beach, FL 33140

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Tooth Decay 101

You’re likely familiar with the term tooth decay. Have you ever wondered how tooth decay happens? Read on to find out! A Miami Beach, FL dentist explains the process below.


Chemical Reactions

Tooth decay is a fairly complex process, which is propelled by the bacteria in your mouth. After you eat, you may notice a sticky film called plaque on your teeth. Plaque damages your teeth in a few different ways. One is through the formation of tartar. Over time, plaque hardens, forming tartar. Initially, tartar is above the gumline, but it soon starts to push below it. This starts a downward spiral. Pockets are formed, which allow that bacteria to push below the gumline, where you can’t reach it.This is the beginning of gum disease, which, left unchecked, can wreak havoc on your mouth.

Meanwhile, the acid created by bacteria in plaque begins to break down the outer hard layer of your tooth, which is known as the enamel. This is how tooth decay starts. If decay is allowed to continue, the enamel will erode and weaken, and small cracks and fissures will form. As the enamel wears away, those crevasses allow bacteria access to the next layer of your tooth, which is made out of a yellowish, porous substance called dentin. Harmful bacteria will keep pushing deeper into the tooth, forming cavities and eventually, abscesses. 


Tips

How do you prevent tooth decay? Good dental care is crucial. Brush twice a day, using a toothpaste that contains fluoride. You should also floss and use mouthwash daily, and drink plenty of water. It will also help to limit your intake of foods that are high in sugars and starches. Finally, be sure to visit your dentist regularly. 


Risk Factors

Anyone can develop tooth decay, but some are at increased risk. Children, for instance, are more susceptible than adults, because their enamel is thinner. Your gums may recede over time, which also increases the risk. People with dry mouths are also at higher risk, as are those who do not maintain proper dental hygiene.


Symptoms

A toothache is usually the first thing you will notice. Other signs include sensitivity to hot, cold, or sweet substances; staining; cavities; and abscesses. Contact your dentist right away if you notice any of these issues.


Please contact us, your Miami Beach, FL dental clinic, for all of your dental care needs.

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