Did you know that over 90% of adults in America have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth? Tooth decay is also the most widespread chronic disease among school-aged children. If you diligently brush and floss your teeth and attend your dental checkups and cleanings every six months, then developing tooth decay can be quite frustrating, as well as confusing. After all, your hygiene routine is meant to prevent such issues from occurring, right? To help you understand how the dental disease can slip past your defenses, your Polk City dentist, Dr. Ryan Hussong, explains the phenomenon of tooth decay, and what can happen if you don’t treat it in time.
The Bacterial Connection
That sticky, gross, sometimes fuzzy-feeling substance that coats your teeth from time to time is called dental plaque, and while most people are aware of plaque, they may not realize the danger it poses to their smiles. Plaque is the product of congregating oral bacteria, which form the extracellular gunk to protect themselves from your mouth’s natural defenses. Consequently, some of these same germs are responsible for the harmful processes that lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and chronic bad breath.
A Tooth in Danger
In the case of tooth decay, certain mouth germs convert sugars and carbs into acid, which weakens your tooth’s protective enamel by depleting your teeth of the minerals it needs. In time, your enamel may grow too weak to protect the main tooth structure underneath from bacteria and infection, allowing tooth decay to set in and begin the process of destroying your tooth. Good dental hygiene can often help prevent enamel erosion and the onset of decay, but if even the smallest amount of plaque remains on your teeth for more than 48 hours, it calcifies into tartar and becomes too stubborn to remove with your toothbrush, greatly increasing the likelihood that you’ll develop tooth decay soon afterwards.
Protect Your Smile with Your Polk City Dentist
To learn more about the intricacies of tooth decay and how to increase your defenses against it, schedule an appointment with your Polk City dentist by calling Cornerstone Dental at (515) 984-6001. Located in the 50226 area, we proudly welcome families from Des Moines, Polk City, Ames, Ankeny, Alleman, Bondurant, Grimes, Johnston, and the surrounding communities.