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Preventing and treating rotten teeth: everything you need to know

Preventing and treating rotten teeth: everything you need to know

Created: September 28, 2022 | Updated: March 22, 2024

Rotten teeth is a common problem that can lead to pain, discomfort and even tooth loss and potentially dentures mean. In this article, we discuss the causes, symptoms, consequences and prevention of decayed teeth.

What is a decayed tooth?

A decayed tooth is a tooth where the surface is very and permanently damaged, causing cavities. A decayed tooth can toothache result.

Causes of rotten teeth

A decayed tooth can result from several causes. It often starts with poor oral hygiene where a person does not brush their teeth enough. As a result, more bacteria are active in the mouth and, combined with food particles, this can create plaque, which in itself can lead to a rotted tooth. In addition, the following causes can lead to teeth starting to decay:

  • Tooth plaque: Tooth plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria that forms on teeth. If plaque is not removed regularly, it can harden into tartar.
  • Tartar: Tartar is a hard deposit on teeth that can only be removed by a professional. Tartar irritates the gums and can lead to inflammation.
  • Sugary drinks and foods: Sugary drinks and foods feed the bacteria in plaque, producing acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Poor oral hygiene: Inadequate tooth brushing and flossing can lead to accumulation of plaque and tartar.
  • Dry mouth: A dry mouth can irritate gums and promote plaque fading.
  • Smoking: Smoking reduces blood supply to the gums and makes them more susceptible to infection.

Recognise the symptoms of rotten teeth

A rotten tooth is not always noticeable at first. Often the first symptoms are the sensitivity of your tooth to cold or hot drinks, a bad breath of an unpleasant taste in your mouth. This can progress to a constant sharp pain that keeps you awake. When this happens, you are often already sitting with a cavity in your tooth that you may or may not notice. In further stages, it may start discolouring to brown or even black. Common symptoms are:

Effects of decaying teeth

Should a decayed tooth be treated? Definitely! Rotten teeth are dangerous for your teeth. If you don’t treat it, it will always get worse and worse. Eventually, it will reach the root of the tooth and damage it. The tooth itself will also suffer damage. In worse cases, the tooth may become inflamed and the only solution may be to extract it. This is precisely why a regular check-up at the dentist is necessary. This way, you can detect and treat cavities and prevent worse. Possible consequences are:

  • Gum disease: Untreated plaque and tartar can lead to gum disease, such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
  • Inflammation of the jawbone: In severe cases, gum disease can lead to inflammation of the jawbone.
  • Tooth loss: Rotten teeth may eventually fall out.
  • Pain and discomfort: Rotten teeth can cause pain and discomfort, leading to problems with eating, sleeping and speaking.

Prevent cavities

Tips to prevent tooth decay

There are a number of things you can do to prevent decayed teeth. First of all, it is advisable to go to the dentist for a check-up every six months. This way, they can be detected and treated to prevent worse. You yourself can also make good oral hygiene a priority at home. Therefore, brush your teeth twice a day with a toothpaste with fluoride. Flossing is also recommended as this way you remove food particles you cannot reach when brushing.

  • Good oral hygiene: Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day.
  • Regular professional cleaning: Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a professional cleaning.
  • Use fluoride-containing toothpaste: Use a fluoride-containing toothpaste to fight plaque and strengthen tooth enamel.
  • Restrict sugary drinks and foods: Limit consumption of sugary drinks and foods to starve plaque bacteria.
  • Stop smoking: Quitting smoking is important for overall health, including gum health.

Treatments for rotten teeth

Rotten teeth are a serious problem, but it is well treatable and preventable. There are several treatment methods when you suffer from decaying teeth:

  • Fillings: Fillings are used to repair small cavities in the teeth.
  • Crowns: Crowns are used to cover teeth that are severely damaged.
  • Root canal treatment: Root canal treatment is used to treat teeth with an inflamed root canal.
  • Tooth extraction: In some cases, it may be necessary to extract a decayed tooth.

Prevention is better than cure. By maintaining good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly and following a healthy lifestyle, you can keep your teeth healthy and maintain a radiant smile.

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Frequently asked questions

When you have a rotten tooth, it is best to visit your dentist. The latter can still treat a rotten tooth before it becomes worse and permanently damaged. Often, a cavity can be filled. In worse cases, the tooth has to be pulled.

Rotting teeth can be prevented by good oral hygiene. Avoid sugary products and brush your teeth twice a day. Use a dentist-approved toothpaste with fluoride. For best results, floss your teeth regularly as well.

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