We all hear about cavities, tooth decay, and maintaining a healthy dental regimen, but do you ever wonder exactly how it all happens? I mean, yes, we understand that our tooth’s structure breaks down from sugar and whatever else. But for real, what is the actual process? What are the minuscule details that we don’t actually know much about and the scientific process behind tooth decay and cavities? I feel like if we all knew exactly what it was that happened to our teeth when we neglect them, we’d be more apt to take care of them.
With that said, we’ve come to provide you with the exact breakdown as to what happens with our teeth when particles of food break down and become harmful agents for bacteria to attack our teeth.
So, the first thing that happens is our tooth’s enamel (the hard, protective coating on the outside of our teeth) breaks down. How?
Well, when a tooth is exposed to acid (which is caused by foods and drinks that contain sugars), the acid repeatedly attacks the enamel and the tooth. Typically, a whitish spot will appear that shows our enamel has been eroded quite a bit at this point.
The enamel is completely destroyed.
Once your tooth’s protective surface becomes worn away and the breakdown continues, eventually the enamel will become completely destroyed, meaning a cavity has formed. A cavity is simply a hole that has formed in the absence of enamel, meaning the root of your tooth is now exposed (which is why it hurts to eat anything near it, and cold or hot foods and liquids cause pain).
Once a cavity forms, the process is irreversible and permanent, meaning a trip to the dentist is the only fix.
Like mentioned above, the only thing that can be done from here is synthetic repair, as the tooth’s natural structure is completely lost. Luckily, our technology is advanced enough to handle cavities and other dental needs. Filling a cavity actually doesn’t take much for a dentist to do, as a mold of different materials is fitted into the exposed tooth’s hole, and it eventually hardens to “remake” your tooth almost as good as new.
And there you have it. While the process isn’t actually as extensive or hard to understand as you may have figured, there’s certainly something to be said for how simple it is to avoid.