Tooth decay is caused when sugars in everyday foods and drinks react with naturally-occurring bacteria on the teeth. The reaction produces acids that, over time, break down teeth and form a cavity.
To repair the cavity, the dentist removes the decay and fills the space. This restores the tooth to a healthy state.
Nerve damage can result from severe decay, and the tooth may need a crown (an artificial tooth cap or cover).
To prevent tooth decay and the need for costly treatments, we recommend that you stick to a good dental hygiene regimen:
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages
- Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day
- Go for regular dental checkups, including fluoride treatments.
Fluoride is a substance that makes teeth stronger and resistant to decay. Many communities add fluoride to tap water to help promote dental health. Your dentist can evaluate the level of fluoride in your drinking water and, if needed, recommend fluoride supplements (usually in tablets or drops).
The grooves and depressions on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth are very difficult to clean. Because of this, they tend to get more cavities than other teeth.
Tooth sealants protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth by preventing bacteria and food particles from staying there.
A sealant is a type of resin that’s applied directly to teeth that are prone to cavities. A sealant will last for several years, but must be checked during regular visits to the dentist.