Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of tooth pain. It occurs when the enamel starts to break down because of bacteria that metabolize sugary foods into acids.
While tooth decay is highly preventable by keeping good oral hygiene, it can lead to infection or even tooth loss when left untreated.
Learn more about its causes and treatment options.
The Cause and Prevention
B L O G | S U N R I S E D E N T I S T R Y
Last week I asked the hygienist what
was the most common question
patients ask her. She paused a
moment to think about it and then
said, “Do I have any cavities?”
And that brings us to cavities. What
causes them? How do we find them?
How do we fix them? How can we
prevent cavities from happening?
Cavities are also known as dental
caries and they can lead to a series of
sometimes problematic issues
including tooth and gum infections. A
cavity that becomes too deep can be
accompanied by considerable tooth
pain and if allowed to progress can
result in losing the affected tooth.
Dental decay is caused primarily by
Streptococcus mutans (SM) and
lactobacillus. The bacteria use refined
sugars, such as those found in soda,
sweetened juices, candy and other
desserts, and quick digesting grains
(such as wheat) and creates acid that
destroys the tooth from the enamel
(outer part of the tooth) to the dentin
(inner part of the tooth).
It seems strange to think that tooth
decay is actually a communicable,
infectious disease and it will also
spread from one tooth to the next if
you give it the chance. It can also be
spread to another person by kissing.
Babies do not have these bacterias
until their birth when they are
exposed during the birthing process
and exposure outside the womb
during the first few months of life.
Another important cause of decay is
a poor diet (refined sugars and grains
top the list). A poor diet will cause
systemic changes that are not good
for our overall health, including our
These changes can make you much
more susceptible to the surface acid
attack mentioned above. Many
holistic dentists, including Dr.
Strietzel, are confident that diet is
the biggest factor in our dental
health or problems.
When dental decay starts, you often
cannot feel it. Sometimes it can be
seen or felt by a dental provider and
sometimes it is found through taking
x-rays of the tooth. X-rays show us