As the year approaches its end, and its successor draws nearer, reflection is common. It is a time to ponder things you’ve yet to do, and make resolutions to achieve the most important of those goals in the year to come. Eating healthier, exercising more, and taking better care of yourself overall is always an excellent resolution. However, if your dental health is among the things you wish to improve, than your Lafayette dentist warns that you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to seek tooth decay treatment. Dr. Michael Young explains how, when it comes to your oral health, time can be a greater enemy than you may realize.
Tooth Decay Waits for No Man (or Woman)
The decaying of a tooth begins with acid. Dental plaque, which accumulates on your teeth and along your gum line, contains certain bacteria that convert sugars and carbs into lactic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel (the strong, highly-mineralized layer that surrounds and protects your teeth). To inhibit enamel from reinforcing itself, acid also saps minerals from your tooth, leaving enamel no resource for strength. As time progresses, enamel erosion will dissolve your tooth’s protection, making the path easy for bacteria to reach your softer underlying tooth structure. The longer you wait to treat tooth decay, the greater the destruction to your tooth and the less chance you’ll have of saving it.
Detecting and Treating Tooth Decay in Lafayette
If you currently have a cavity that causes your tooth to ache, chances are that you won’t have to be convinced to seek treatment immediately. By the time tooth decay makes itself known through physical discomfort, it has typically progressed to the tooth’s main structure, having already eroded your tooth enamel. The sensitivity can be so discomforting that one in four adults admit having taken time off work to deal with a toothache. You can stop the progression of tooth decay before it causes discomfort, but detecting symptomless tooth decay is difficult without professional assistance. By attending your dental checkup at least every six months, you can allow Dr. Young to periodically inspect your mouth for early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other abnormalities that could signify a host of oral health issues. If you live in the 70508 area and would like to learn more, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Young, call our Lafayette dentist office at (337) 237-6453.