Dental Decay / Cavities
Cavities occur when sugars are consumed, turn into acid in the mouth, and attack the teeth. Cavities are not formed with just one exposure to sugar but can develop from constant sugary attacks over time. That’s why a high sugar diet increases the risk of cavities. Cavities can occur anywhere on a tooth but are common on the biting surfaces of molars and in-between molars. Cavities start in the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth) travel through the dentin (the middle layer of the tooth) and can eventually enter the pulp (the nerve of the tooth.) Once a cavity travels into the nerve of a tooth, an infection will occur, and the tooth will require a root canal. It is beneficial to catch cavities at their smallest stages, to prevent loss of tooth structure. To prevent cavities, consider a low sugar diet, brush and floss, use fluoride toothpaste, and have your check-ups and cleanings regularly.
Gum recession is when the gum tissue around a tooth recedes away, exposing the underlying tooth and root structure. Gum recession can occur anywhere around a tooth. Gum recession is caused by a variety of reasons, including brushing too aggressively, clenching/grinding and trauma. To prevent gum recession, try using an electric toothbrush with a pressure indicator or a super soft toothbrush and wear a nightguard if you clench or grind your teeth.
Erosion is wear of the outer structure of the teeth called the enamel, caused by acids in your mouth. The acids can be from highly acidic foods such as citrus fruit, or acid reflux/ GERD. When the teeth are frequently exposed to acids, the enamel will slowly wear away, leaving them sensitive, thin and discoloured. To prevent acid erosion, make sure to rinse your mouth after citrus fruits/vomiting and talk with your doctor about medication if you suffer from acid reflux/GERD.
Tooth wear is any traumatic wear of the enamel surfaces. Causes of tooth wear can be due to a habit of clenching, grinding, or a traumatic bite. Over time, the tooth surfaces may flatten or indent, and loss of enamel will occur. To prevent tooth wear, be sure to wear a night guard if you have a clenching or grinding habit. If the wear is caused from an off bite, braces may be recommended to align the teeth and fix the bite, allowing biting forces to be distributed evenly.