Pure Liquid Gold
General Health Information
Bacteria and Tooth Decay
Bacteria and tooth decay is one of the most common of all disorders, second only to the common cold. It usually occurs in children and young adults but can affect any person. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in younger people.
Bacteria is normally present in the mouth. This bacteria converts all foods-especially sugar and starch-into acids. Bacteria, acid, food debris and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque that adheres to the teeth. It is most prominent on the grooved chewing surfaces of back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth and at the edges of fillings. Plaque that is not removed from the teeth mineralizes into tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, resulting in gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis.
The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the tooth and create holes in the tooth which is called cavities. Cavities are usually painless until they grow very large inside the internal structures of the tooth (the dentin and the pulp at the core) and can cause death of the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth. If left untreated a tooth abscess can develop.
Plaque and bacteria begin to accumulate within 20 minutes after eating, the time when most bacterial activity occurs. If plaque and bacteria are left on the teeth, cavities can develop and untreated tooth decay can result in death of the internal structures of the tooth and ultimately the loss of the tooth.
Dietary sugars and starches (carbohydrates) increase the risk of tooth decay. The type of carbohydrate and the timing and frequency of ingestion are more important that the amount. Sticky foods are more harmful than nonsticky foods because they remain on the surface of the teeth. Frequent snacking increases the time that acids are in contact with the surface of the tooth.
Symptoms of bacteria and tooth decay are a toothache, particularly after sweet, hot or cold foods or drinks and visible pits or holes in the teeth.
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