Good oral hygiene and periodic examinations by your dentist contribute to keep healthy teeth and gums. If you do not care of your mouth health or the mouth of your children, dental plaque accumulates and cause tooth decay also called rotten teeth.
Even though the primary cause of a decayed tooth is always the poor oral hygiene, there are multiple additional causes that lead to caries.
Knowing the tooth decay causes can help to prevent pain and costly treatments in the future.
Poor oral hygiene at home
It is well known that poor oral hygiene is linked to different types of health issues starting from caries, gingivitis, and periodontal disease up to systemic conditions (hearth disease in primis).
When you skip teeth brushing and flossing, a sticky biofilm called dental plaque forms around each dental element. Bacteria contained in the plaque eat the food particles leaved in the mouth and produce toxins that erode the tooth enamel.
Decay starts and progresses if not caught in time by the dentist.
At this point of the rotten teeth stage, you so not feel any pain simply because nerves are not involved yet. After enamel, bacteria attack the second layer of the tooth called dentine and then the vital part: the pulp where sensitive nerves and blood cells are located.
When the infection affects the pulp, the toothache is terrible and over the counter pain killer are not enough to relieve the symptoms.
There is one thing only you can do to get rid of toothache: visit the dentist to get the proper rotten teeth treatment.
Poor diet and vitamin deficiency
Soda, sugar sport drinks, sticky food, cola, caramel and candies are all bad food that brings too much sugar into your mouth and into your blood. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, sugar feeds plaque bacteria that grow in number causing the first signs of tooth decay and gingivitis.
In order to strength and remineralize your teeth, you should look for healthy food rich in vitamins and minerals and low in carbohydrates such as: fresh fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements (especially for seniors).
Crooked teeth and dental crevices
Keeping your teeth clean with aligned dental elements is already difficult enough but it can be even harder if you have crooked teeth or deep dental crevices. In the last cases dental plaque can easily find tiny spaces in between teeth where to hide and accumulate especially in children.
Kids and adults with crooked teeth should pay more attention to their daily oral hygiene in order to avoid decayed teeth and gum disease.
Dental sealant of molars and premolars biting surface help to prevent rotten teeth in children in particular.
Adults without any caries or fillings in their most back teeth can also benefit from sealants.
Symptoms and early signs of rotten teeth
If the bacterial infection didn’t affect the pulp yet, you do not feel any pain therefore the only rotten teeth symptom may be a small dark ()brown, black or white spot on the dental surface.
As more the cavity progresses deep into the pulp, through the dentine, as more the toothache increases as well as the sensitivity to cold or hot food or drinks. This happens because the infection gets near nerves.
When bacteria reach the most inner part of the dental element, it starts to necrotize the tooth. At this point, additional tooth decay symptoms add to the previous and you may feel swelling, smelling tooth and metallic taste in the mouth.
Since the infection erodes the dentine, the enamel may breaks due to the lack of adequate support. Therefore it is difficult for people with decayed tooth to eat and chew properly.
Adults and children rotten Teeth
Even though adults and seniors are not excluded from getting tooth rot, babies, toddlers, children and teenagers are more likely to cavities due to the bad food they usually eat. You should always keep in mind that sugar contained in candies, energy drinks, caramel and that food called “sticky”, feed bacteria that cause dental decay.
Children rotten teeth symptoms may include: eat and jaw pain, irritability, and temperature (fever) as well as swollen neck lymph nodes.
Biberon or baby bottle tooth decay
Leaving your toddler fall asleep having the baby bottle handy means that sugary liquids like milk, formula, breast milk or fruit juice will remain in his/her mouth the whole night. Baby bottle tooth decay is the primary cause of baby teeth loss.
Pediatric dentists always suggest to keep baby teeth and gums clean by rubbing gentle a wet gauze along the infant’s gums and dental elements. Parents should be aware that primary teeth are very important because they keep the space for permanents one avoiding future misalignment.
Therapy for early stages of rotten teeth
In the early stages of tooth rot, caries only affect the outer layer of the dental element. The dentist will be in front of a small cavity that can be easily treated by removing the surface infection using the dental drill and filling the tiny hole with amalgam (mercury, silver) or composite resin (even tooth-colored).
Because nerves are not involved in the procedure, most of the times local anesthesia is not required.
Therapy for advanced stages of rotten teeth
If you wait too long before to visit your dentist, tooth rot progresses to pulpitis, toothache increases incredibly and you are at the high risk to lose your tooth.
Endodontic therapy for rotten tooth
In case the caries infection has already reached the dental pulp, there is only one therapy the endodontist can perform: the root canal treatment. This endodontic procedure will avoid that pulpitis to progress to periapical abscess where swelling and pus may worsen the symptoms.
The main scope of the endodontic treatment is to cure the infection by removing any infected tissue from within the dental canal.
Once cleaned, the endodontist will disinfect the area using sodium hypochlorite and sealing the canal with adhesive cementum.
Your natural crown may be no more able to resist the chew pressure so the dentist may place a permanent prosthetic crown on top the remaining part of your natural one. The crown can be made of porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, all ceramic or even zirconia.
Unfortunately not all decayed elements can be saved due to the rot severity. So the last chance to recover from the oral infection is to extract the rotten tooth and replace it with a dental bridge or a single dental implant.
Rotten teeth during pregnancy
Pregnancy is a particular period for all women and many changes happen in their body. The hormonal changes cause the saliva quantity decreases. The result is a form of dry mouth. When the saliva quantity is not enough, the food particles are not washed away and they hide between teeth feeding plaque bacteria.
In addition expectancy women tend to pay less attention to their dental hygiene because of fatigue or lack of sleeping.
Rotten teeth during pregnancy were more common in the past years. Now pregnant women pay more attention to every aspects of their health.
Before and during pregnancy is always a good idea to undergo a preventive oral examination especially when the first symptoms of tooth rot appear. If caught in time, your dentist can treat your cavities without the need of x-rays, chemical filling or anesthesia that can affect your baby.
Prevent teeth from getting decayed
The first and most important rule to follow in order to prevent decayed tooth is to practice an effective oral hygiene at home on daily base.
- Brush and floss your teeth when you wake up and before to go to sleep;
- Complete the hygiene procedures with quality toothpaste and antibacterial mouthwash (not in children);
- Consider to switch to electric toothbrush to remove more dental plaque especially from between back teeth or orthodontic devices like braces and brackets;
- Remember to visit your dentist office at least every 6 months to get the full mouth examination and the professional teeth cleaning by the dental hygienist.
Tooth decays are a serious problems that may cause even more severe health conditions therefore just visit your dentist because prevent is better than cure.