May 15, 2012

Understanding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when the enamel of the teeth is attacked by acid produced by decay-causing bacteria.  Every time you eat something with sugar in it, the bacteria are fed and they produce acid when they eat. The acid attack on your teeth lasts for 20 minutes after introducing the sugar into your mouth. That’s why it’s important to be aware of snacking and what’s in your snacks and in between meal drinks. Every time you eat or drink something with sugar in it, whether it’s a lot or a little bit of sugar, there will be an acid attack for 20 minutes after eating or drinking the sugar.

Think about your eating and drinking habits. Are you making your teeth suffer acid attacks for hours each day? It helps to swish and swallow some water after eating if you can’t brush your teeth.

Tooth enamel is the outside of the tooth and it is hard and porous. It consists of many closely-packed rods made of minerals. The acid I mentioned that forms after eating seeps into the enamel’s pores. This causes mineral to be lost from the enamel (a process called demineralization). When mineral is lost from the enamel, the enamel softens and this demineralized spot is a weak spot in the tooth’s surface. If the enamel doesn’t have a chance to remineralize, that is what the decay is – softened, demineralized enamel with bacteria in it. The decay progresses and forms a cavity in the tooth.

For information about other dental topics visit

No comments:

Post a Comment