What causes tooth loss and decay and when to see the dentist?

Tooth decay


Our oral cavity contains a myriad of bacteria, this in itself is no reason to worry. Oral bacteria are part of our natural microbiome, which plays an important role in our health and wellbeing. These bacteria feed on the food remaining in our mouth, mostly on simple sugars. As a side-product of their metabolism some species in the oral microbiome produce and secrete organic acids. Western diets often contain a lot of sugar in the form of soft drinks, snacks and desserts, this can lead to oral bacterial overgrowth, which in turn results in increased organic acid production. Despite the small amounts secreted by the bacteria, these acids can enter into a chemical reaction with the mineral content of teeth, resulting in the dissolution of a part of the tooth’s mineral content. The saliva normally replenishes this through its mineral content. However, if due to poor oral health or high sugar intake these bacteria are allowed to overgrow, the rate at which the saliva replenishes the tooth’s mineral content will be lower than at which the organic acids dissolve the tooth’s calcium content. This can result in tooth decay. If you are looking for a dentist in Liverpool to treat tooth decay, contact our dentistry, the Liverpool Smile Studio and book an appointment.

When to see the doctor if you have tooth decay?

Initially tooth decay only affects the very surface of the tooth. At this stage you may notice a bright white patch on the surface of your tooth. This is one of the most important signs to look out for: it shows that the tooth decay has started, but it still only affects the surface. At this stage the process is reversible. You should take this as a sign to change oral health or dietary habits. Reducing your sugar intake and practicing good oral health by brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and by using antibacterial mouthwash is crucial at this stage, as you can reverse the damage through small lifestyle changes.

If you notice a brown or black patch on your tooth, you should see a dentist immediately, as this is usually a sign of caries. There are other symptoms to look out for as well. A bad breath, tooth sensitivity or a toothache are also often a sign of tooth decay. If you would like to get treatment for tooth decay, contact our dentists in Liverpool at the Liverpool Smile Studio.

What are the complications of tooth decay?

If tooth decay is left untreated it can progress into more serious conditions, that in some rare cases may even be lethal. Tooth decay and the bacterial overgrowth can cause gum disease. If tooth decay or gum disease are left untreated they can eventually result in tooth loss. Tooth loss occurs when the decay affects and infects the pulp tissue. Untreated tooth decay can also result in a dental abscess. These in some rare cases if rupture can cause septic shock, which may even be lethal. If you are looking for a dentist in Liverpool to treat tooth decay, contact us, the Liverpool Smile Studio.