If you ask your dentist why cavities develop or why people get gum diseases, then he or she would probably say just one thing — poor dental hygiene. When you go a day without brushing and flossing, the changes in your mouth can be staggering. The bacterial population will grow unchecked and with increasing populations of bacteria, the levels of acid metabolites will also increase and cause enamel softening. Due to the action on the enamel, erosion will happen and cavities will slowly form. At the same time, the bacteria could make their way into the gums and cause infection in the form of gingivitis, inflaming the gums.
The process of cavity formation happens very slowly and is contingent on the levels of sugar inside your mouth. Sugar is crucial to cavity formation because this is the substance which oral bacteria requires in order to thrive inside your mouth. However, when bacteria utilize sugars, they secrete acid metabolites as a product. The acid substances will work on the enamel layer and cause it to soften and demineralize. When enamel crystals are removed from this layer, microcavities form and are precursors to cavities. At this point, it’s still possible for the cavities to be treated but only if they are detected at this point.
However, if you do not visit your dentist regularly, then the cavity can develop further until the hole reaches the pulp layer. The pulp layer is the region of the tooth which houses the sensitive blood vessels and nerve tissues. When the cavity has reached all the way to this region, these tissues are irritated and can produce symptoms from piercing pain characteristic to teeth sensitivity while the chronic pain is associated to tooth decay.
Bacteria can break into your mucous membrane and make their way into your gums. This leads to the inflammation of your gingival tissues and the development of gingivitis. The symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen gums with increased tendency to bleed. The next time you brush your teeth, seeing streaks of blood could be a sign that you have an ongoing gum disease. However, the buck does not stop there. If you fail to make it to the dentist and get proper treatment, then you run the risk of getting periodontitis which affects the supporting tissues including the ligaments and the bones.
However, gingivitis is very much treatable. Dentists will usually recommend mouthrinses that have therapeutic indications to reverse the effects of early gingivitis. Another routine procedure is the scaling and planing treatment which is done to get rid of tartar and plaque which have accumulated on the exposed dental roots and polishing off of these structures in order to prevent further adherence of other dental debris.
Image Courtesy Pinterest