The hole in the tooth: How to recognize and prevent tooth decay
Most patients think of a “hole in the tooth” when they hear about tooth decay. But tooth decay is not just a hole, but a bacterial infection in the mouth. About 95 percent of all people living in industrialized countries suffer from tooth decay, also called tooth decay. Find out how tooth decay develops, which symptoms trigger tooth decay and how you can prevent tooth decay.
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria attack the tooth and damage the tooth substance. Genetic predisposition, diet and poor oral hygiene cause tooth decay and are responsible for holes in the teeth.
For a hole to arise, four conditions must be given. A hole needed:
- the tooth itself – without a tooth there is no hole
- Plaque with bacteria
- Food for the bacteria – primarily sugar
- Time – the longer plaque and bacteria adhere to a site, the more likely a hole will be
How does the hole arise??
In the Middle Ages one had the idea that a tooth worm is the cause of toothache. Today we know that certain bacteria play an important role in carious sites in the mouth. They live in the plaque and feed on sugar from our food.
When digesting this sugar, they produce acid that attacks the enamel. First, rough spots arise. These incipient caries can be seen with the naked eye as white spots. These spots are usually just above the gum.
If the oral hygiene is not optimized, the rough spot develops into a small hole. There brushing is even more difficult. Deep places can not be reached with the toothbrush. Gradually, dyes accumulate in the rough surface and the carious lesion turns dark.
The resulting hole must be filled quickly, so that no pain. If there is a lack of oral hygiene, a hole can destroy a tooth within six months.
Typical symptoms of a “hole in the tooth”
Look for the following symptoms that indicate a tooth decay:
- a sensitivity of the teeth in cold, sweet and hot foods
- chalky, opaque spots and tooth discolorations on tooth surfaces
- a brownish discoloration
- Pain or a slight pulling in the tooth that does not disappear after a few days
- a throbbing pain when chewing
Prophylaxis: How to prevent tooth decay?
Prophylaxis (Provisioning) is based on four pillars:
- healthy nutrition
- conscientious dental care
- Brush your teeth with fluoridated toothpaste
- regular checks at the dentist
Especially patients with the genetic precondition for the development of caries should attach great importance to a healthy diet. This includes above all one reduced sugar consumption. While you may not be able to completely avoid holes in your teeth throughout your life, you can minimize the risk of tooth decay.
Proper dental care is the second important factor in preventing tooth decay. Everyone should brush their teeth at least twice a day for three minutes. Even better would be the teeth cleaning after every meal. Dentists recommend a medium-hard toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.
Good oral hygiene also includes cleaning the interdental spaces. These should be cleaned once a day with dental floss or interdental brushes. Dentists also recommend professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year.
Fluoride strengthens the enamel and can prevent the formation of a hole. It forms a protective layer on the enamel and supports remineralization. This means that rough areas in the enamel are sealed with minerals from the saliva and fluoride. So fluoride can protect the tooth substance.
In addition to nutrition and oral hygiene, regular checks at the dentist are helpful. He can detect diseased teeth and inflamed gums by looking into your mouth. If small holes are detected early, the formation of a large hole can be avoided.
What is initial caries?
Initial caries can be seen in white areas on the tooth surfaces. In most cases, this form occurs on the incisors and gumline.
What seems like a small and inconspicuous tooth discoloration, is the initial stage of a caries – and thus in need of treatment.
Caries is contagious?
Many people are unaware that tooth decay is contagious. If the bacteria get into another mouth, carious lesions can also form in it. For this reason, parents are advised not to lick the child’s spoon or pacifier. In adulthood, the oral flora has become so established that the risk of infection is small.
Methods for caries treatment – What to do against “bad teeth”?
To treat holes there is no classical method, but a variety of different procedures depending on the size of the caries. The causes of the hole also flow into the consultation and treatment at the dentist. As a result, you pay more attention to your dental health in the future and no longer have to put up with any annoying caries symptoms.
The treatment of the tooth surfaces with a fluoride is carried out preventively, especially in childhood and adolescence. But even in adulthood, fluoridation can be helpful in combating initial caries.
Sealing is a method of preventing holes and treating hair-fine fissures. The fissure seal with a wafer-thin layer of synthetic varnish compensates for unevenness on the tooth surfaces. This eliminates a bacterial attack surface.
The seal does not exclude a disease, but keeps the teeth healthy in the long term and serves as a protective layer on the sensitive enamel.
When stuffing, colloquially also called seal, it is a classic method for the treatment of tooth decay. Before the filling is applied, your dentist cleans the affected area with a drill and then removes the caries.
After the diseased tooth substance has been removed, the patient can choose from various restorative materials. Alternatively, an inlay can be used to fill the hole in the tooth. This is a made of ceramic or gold solid.
Treatment with laser
The treatment with laser is painless and is suitable for lesions of various sizes and in patients with fear of the dentist. The tooth rot is evaporated by the light of the laser, whereby healthy tooth substance is not affected.
The laser treatment is not silent, but allows a treatment without the usual vibrations of the drill. Depending on the depth of an additional mechanical treatment, such as rinsing and disinfection with a solution may be necessary. Not every dentist has a laser in his office.
If you are worried about having a hole in the tooth, please consult your dentist. He can quickly tell if it’s a hole or a rough spot. If a tooth decay is detected early enough, it can be treated painlessly and without drilling.
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