Key Takeaways: Why Teeth Decay from the Inside Out
- Inadequate Cleaning: Decay often begins in areas that routine brushing misses, particularly the tight spaces between teeth.
- Vulnerability Factors: Contributing factors include:
- Irregular Tooth Alignment: This makes some areas hard to clean.
- Enamel Thinning: Leaves teeth more susceptible to decay.
- Dry Mouth: Reduces saliva, which normally helps in cleaning and neutralizing acids.
- High Sugar Diet: Increases acid production leading to decay.
- Prevention Strategies:
- Water Flossing: Effectively cleans between teeth where brushing falls short.
- Sugar Reduction: Lowers acid production in the mouth.
- Fluoride Toothpaste: Strengthens enamel against acid attacks.
- Regular Dental Visits: For professional cleaning and early decay detection.
The goal is to outsmart hidden decay by focusing on these areas and factors, ensuring the preservation of healthy tooth structure and maintaining a vibrant smile.
In my many years of practicing dentistry, I’ve helped numerous patients distressed to find their teeth decaying internally despite maintaining good external brushing habits. Known as interproximal decay, this phenomenon results from infection accessing vulnerable areas between teeth.
As Dr. Tom Bell, I utilize advanced diagnostic imaging and microscopic evaluations to uncover hidden decay patients often miss in routine checks. Let’s explore why this invisible attack occurs and key prevention tips to stop the inner rotting process.
Table of Contents
Diagnosing Invisible Decay
Julie R. first visited my dental office perplexed that her twice-daily brushing somehow overlooked serious back molar decay. I calmed her fears of poor hygiene being to blame after a full intraoral assessment. Her regimen removed surface plaque effectively yet struggled accessing narrow spaces subject to acid and bacteria buildup.
Interproximal cavities utilize these overlooked niches to burrow deep into dentin over months. Eventually undermining the solid external enamel layer from the inside out before most patients feel pain or discomfort.
My advanced digital radiographic imaging uncovered Julie’s areas of hidden infection. Early intervention prevented extensive treatment needing root canals or extractions had the decay continued tunneling unchecked.
Why Inner Cavities Develop
Several factors cause interior tooth decay despite normal external care:
Irregular Tooth Alignment
Crooked or tightly spaced teeth suffer elevated infection risk with food and plaque trapping space between them. These congested corners prove difficult to access for cleaning.
Age naturally erodes protective enamel over decades. As this armor thins, softer inner dentin grows exposed and vulnerable to acid infiltration leading to interior rot.
Dry Mouth Environments
Insufficient saliva neutralizing mouth bacteria deprives teeth of a key decay defense. Various diseases, medications, and habits like smoking can inhibit healthy saliva flow.
Frequent carb and sugar consumption feeds acid-producing oral bacteria. When concentrated internally rather than surface level, fermenting plaque devastates structural integrity inside out.
Tips to Prevent Inner Cavities
After detecting hidden decay in patients for many years, I stand by specific prevention advice to inhibit this painful phenomenon:
Water Floss Daily
String floss stays limited maneuvering between tighter teeth but water flossing blast away plaque lodged internally with forceful fluid pressure from all angles.
Avoid Excessive Sugars
Reducing daily refined carbohydrates and sugary snacks minimizes the bacteria fuel injecting acids into uncleaned inner crevices during digesting.
Use Prescription Toothpastes
Fluoride-boosting toothpastes require prescription but toughen enamel against acidic penetration. Especially helpful for patients with drier mouths or recession issues.
Routine dental exams every 6 months allow early detection of potential trouble spots before they tunnel severely inside teeth.
While disheartening to lose teeth structurally from the hidden inside out, recognizing the causes allows prevention. Combining mechanical cleaning of congested areas with dietary adjustments keeps acid at bay. Schedule regular diagnostic visits to monitor vulnerable zones before decay undermines your confident smile
Causes of rotting teeth
Rotting teeth are caused by a sticky film that forms over the teeth also called plaque. The plaque contains bacteria that feeds on the food we eat mainly starch and sugary foods. The bacteria then produce acid that cause small holes also called cavity in teeth (https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/tooth-decay). If left unattended decay teeth continue to decay and infect other nearby teeth until all teeth are rotten. The infection goes down to the gums and other part of the body such as our hearts.
Other causes of teeth decay includes:
- Poor dental hygiene: It is advised to brush your teeth daily after eating: Brush them daily with fluoride toothpaste and interdental brush or floss. If you eat twice a day, brush them twice a day and so forth and floss daily. This will help remove plaque that store bad bacteria. You are also advised to visit the dentist for general check and professional cleaning (https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/decay).
- Poor dietary: eating food high in starch and sugar without brushing your teeth then after is bad. The food you eat feed bacteria, which produce acid that cause your teeth to rote. Also drinking a lot of acidic drinks such as soda is not advisable as acid contained in these drinks cause the teeth to decay. Remember to drink water immediately after drinking juice or acid drink to flush out the acid out of your teeth enamel.
- Excessive dry mouth due to dehydration cause saliva glands not to produce enough saliva to wash away plaque increasing the risk of tooth decay. Try to drink as much water as possible at least 2 liters a day. Notice that 60% of our bodies are made up of water; hence, you need water for health functioning of many organs in the body including keeping your teeth healthy. Need plain water alternatives, check this (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-hydrating-foods#section20).
- Other included drugs, fluoride deficiency and baby bottle (read detail info here https://www.healthline.com/health/rotten-teeth )
It is better to start taking good care of your teeth the moment you discover early signs of tooth decay such as sensitivity to cold or hot food, toothache, teeth stain, bad breath, and swollen gums .
How to stop teeth from rotting further
The way in which to stop teeth from decaying further depends on how far are your teeth decayed.
If they have only holes but teeth still there; you can just do the oil pulling, swishing coconut oil for twenty minutes twice daily. The oil pulling is the tested method that has been proved to have excellent result in reversing teeth cavities. After the oil pulling; you have to rinse your mouth with warm salt water for 3 minutes to help getting rid of even more bacteria.
Apart from oil pulling; you have also to follow the usual dentist recommend brushing teeth and flossing within 20 minutes of finishing eating. In most cases you will hear them saying twice daily, at the bare minimum but basically you are supposed to clean your teeth after every meal.
If you are teeth are real rotten, in a way that they cannot be filled or restored to normal; then the best way is get them removed and replaced with a bridge, denture, or an implant. It is expensive depending on whether the whole mouth is rotten or only few teeth, but all in all you have to see the dentist to get a restoration plan.
It might be teeth implant in which all your teeth or some of them get removed and replaced by new set of fake teeth. Dentist calls it ‘teeth implant’. It is a way of replacing missing teeth. (Read more about implants here https://www.dentalhealth.org/dental-implants and here https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/dental-oral-health/dental-implants)
Don’t be scared as implants are a safe way of replacing badly decayed teeth. These fake teeth can stay with you as long as you take care of them following good oral hygiene just as you do with normal teeth. You also need to go for regular maintenance, quite annoying if you don’t like the dentist. But at least you love yourself then go for it if needed.
And the best part is that it is claimed that putting the teeth implants is less painful as compared to taking the teeth out. But all in all they need to take rotten teeth out before replacing them.
You must have taken some teeth out before, you know the pain, but it is not as much as the one we experienced daily when having decayed teeth on our mouth. This means you can tolerate the pain for few hours or days and have your smile back with a new set of teeth.
Always remember to ask for how everything is going to be done, the cost, if the dentist in place has any experience, the alternatives and if there is any guarantee.
- Maintain healthy balanced food not too high in sugar and starch food.
- Avoid snacking all day long
- Do the oil pulling
- Drink enough water and
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, interdental cleaner or floss and regular visit to your dentist will help you get rid of rotting teeth and while keep remains teeth or implants healthy.
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- How to Prevent Tooth Decay Among Children and Toddlers
Dr. Tom Bell has a PhD in Medical Anthropology. He has a keen interest in oral health topics and is the founder of dentalrave. He has been an oral health researcher and electric toothbrush enthusiast for over 10 years. Tom works with Awin and others in his research. When not talking about dental hygiene and gadgets, Tom likes spending time outdoors hiking.