When we hear of a “major health crisis,” dental health usually doesn’t come to mind. The Zika virus, Ebola, SARS and other infectious diseases get plenty of publication. Even chronic illnesses like obesity command considerable attention.
But did you know that millions of Americans experience tooth rot and tooth decay?
Because the teeth and gums are vulnerable to bacteria-borne health issues, shouldn’t it command “health crisis” coverage? This blog post will put tooth rot in the spotlight. We’ll look at how tooth decay gets started, who is impacted and some effective ways to prevent tooth rot.
How Does Tooth Decay Happen?
You can’t actually see what’s happening, but the process of tooth decay transitions from minor annoyance to major health issue very quickly. How does tooth decay happen? Two primary substances are to blame: sugar and bacteria. Whenever sugary and sticky foods are consumed, the bacteria on your teeth (usually in the form of sticky plaque) uses that sugar as “food” to produce acid.
After a steady dose of these so-called “acid attacks,” the tooth’s enamel starts to wear away. At first, you may notice small discolorations. Soon afterward, those tiny chinks in your tooth’s armor develop into small holes and blemishes called cavities. The plaque and cavities allow more acid to enter the tooth’s soft, vulnerable interior. Once the enemy (acid and bacteria) advance beyond the gates (enamel), it’s only a matter of time before the tooth starts to rot from the inside out.
And that’s how teeth rot. But it doesn’t happen too often, does it? Read on for some alarming stats.
Tooth Decay: Behind the Numbers
Tooth rot is the most prevalent chronic disease among U.S. children. But it doesn’t have to be; disciplined dental care at home has been proven to prevent tooth decay.
Consider these statistics:
- 3 in 4 U.S. adults have a cavity filling.
- More than half of people over 21 years old are dealing with tooth decay
- Only about 30% of people in the United States floss regularly.
- Tooth decay afflicts 25% of children 2-5 years old, and over 50% of children 12-16 years old.
- Tens of millions of U.S. children and toddlers are without dental care.
Nobody is immune to tooth decay, but avoiding cavities and tooth rot is a simple process.
Tooth Decay Prevention
In order to avoid tooth rot, you have to be disciplined on daily basis. Here are three action items that will help:
- Mind your diet. Excessive sugar and junk food produce the “acid cocktail” that starts the tooth rot process.
- Brush often. Two or three times daily is sufficient.
- Wash away bacteria. An antiseptic mouthwash kills most of the bacteria, which fuels the plaque and acid necessary for cavity formation.
A long-term perspective also helps; regular visits to your dentist are highly recommended.
Dr. Dental offers a complete line of dental services to ensure superior oral health. Whether you need a filling, preventative dentistry or other dental need, we’re ready to help today. With our new office in Lynn, Massachusetts, we now have 40 dental offices to serve you! Check out our location page for a Dr. Dental facility near you. For more information, please call our main office at (877) 776-9833.
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When teeth rot, you’re seeing the visible results of a largely invisible process.
Tooth rot can be explained by a simple equation:
Sugar + Bacteria > Saliva + Fluoride
How Teeth Rot
You can’t see it, but dental plaque is the source of tooth decay. This super-sticky, colorless substance is used by the bacteria to make acid. This acid is so powerful that it actually destroys enamel, the tooth’s outer shell. Enamel is one of the hardest materials in existence – but even it can’t prevent tooth decay alone!
If you don’t have enough fluoride and minerals to counteract the acid onslaught, tooth decay is right around the corner – and it could occur in any corner of your mouth!
Some Sobering Statistics
- Little-known fact: tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease.
- 1 in 4 children aged 2-5 experience tooth decay, and half of children aged 12-15 suffer from tooth decay.
- A majority of U.S. adults suffer some form of tooth decay.
To prevent tooth decay, it is recommended to visit a dentist like Dr. Dental regularly. Frequent trips to the dentist, combined with a disciplined tooth care regimen at home (brushing, flossing, etc.), will help prevent tooth decay and dental diseases.