Rotten teeth, also known as advanced tooth decay, is the damage to a tooth caused by plaque. If the teeth aren’t cleaned regularly, bacteria in your mouth combine with sugar or other carbohydrates on the teeth to produce plaque acids that may damage tooth enamel. The teeth’ enamel begins to break down and decay as bacteria-ridden plaque builds up.
Rotten teeth are painful and embarrassing especially if they are at the front of your mouth. They affect your smile and could even lead to problems such as dental caries (holes in the teeth), tooth discoloration, gum disease, bad breath, and an increased risk for periodontal disease. Surprisingly, tooth decay can occur at any age. While it is more prevalent among children and teenagers, even bottling toddlers and older adults who don’t practice good dental hygiene are vulnerable to tooth decay.
Since rotten teeth can be a severe problem for many people, it is important to know the root causes and symptoms so you can get treatment as soon as possible. Read on to learn about the causes, symptoms, and how to treat rotten teeth.
Rotten Tooth Causes
· Poor Oral Hygiene Practices
Poor oral hygiene practices like not brushing your teeth regularly or flossing daily can lead to tooth decay because of plaque and tartar build up on teeth. Brushing twice a day, for two minutes each time, can prevent tooth decay. When you brush your teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush with fluoride toothpaste to clean the teeth and the tongue. Flossing is important, especially in between your back molars, where brushing cannot reach. Brushing twice daily and flossing once per day not only ensures fresh breath but also prevents oral health problems.
· Improper Nutrition
When you maintain an unhealthy diet, your teeth are more likely to be at risk for tooth decay. A diet high in sugar and low in nutrients like vitamins D and C weakens the enamel over time, thus leading to discoloration, cavities, and early wear of the teeth.
To avoid tooth decay, create a healthy diet plan that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products instead of sugary foods. Follow your dentist’s advice on proper oral care for patients with special conditions caused by disease or medication. Limit food and drinks containing sugar to reduce acidity in the mouth.
· Deep Tooth Crevices and Enamel Issues
Deep tooth crevices can trap food particles that are difficult to remove. These particles are attacked by bacteria, which produce acids that attack the teeth’ enamel, causing decay.
The best way to prevent deep tooth crevice formation is by brushing your teeth regularly. The longer food residue stays in the crevices, the more time it has to be attacked by bacteria; therefore, removing food particles promptly can decrease cavity formation.
· Sugary And Acidic Food
Sugary foods like candy, pastries, ice cream, and soda can directly damage tooth enamel because of their high sugar content. The plaque will cling to the tooth enamel and secrete acid that destroys it. It is important to limit sugary foods from your diet.
Similarly, acidic foods like lemons and oranges contain citric acid that erodes tooth enamel. Candy, soda, vinegar, and wine are acidic foods that can lead to tooth decay. If your teeth are in contact with acidic food or drink long enough, they will start to dissolve.
· Dry Mouth Issues
Dry mouth is when saliva flow decreases, which results in an increased number of cavity-causing bacteria in the teeth because there’s no way to wash them away. Saliva protects the teeth by washing away bacteria and food particles that cause decay. Dry mouth can result from medications, stress, or a medical condition.
· Tooth Grinding
Tooth grinding or bruxism creates a lot of stress on the teeth, which can lead to cracked teeth and abnormal wear of the enamel surface. This condition may require the help of a dentist.
The older you get, the more likely it is for tooth decay to develop due to your teeth wearing down with age. Diseases like osteoporosis and arthritis can also increase the risk of tooth decay in older people because these conditions decrease saliva flow making it difficult to wash away bacteria
· Genetics and diseases
Some people inherit a higher risk for tooth decay due to their genetics. Some diseases and conditions increase the risk of tooth decay, such as Down syndrome, osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, AIDS/HIV, or Sjögren’s syndrome.
Rotten Tooth Symptoms
Symptoms of tooth rot usually appear gradually, so you may not recognize them until they are severe. They include:
- Pain in the tooth when eating hot, cold, or sweet food
- Tooth pain when you drink hot drinks, such as tea and coffee
- A constant dull ache in one tooth
- Teeth become more sensitive to temperature changes (for example, hot and cold)
- Sore gums
NOTE: Heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweet foods can result from an early stage of tooth decay. The enamel protects the teeth by acting as a barrier to keep out bacteria and food particles that cause decay. When the enamel begins to break down or wear away, the nerves inside the teeth are exposed to heat, cold, and sweet foods because the protective barrier is now gone. The sensitivity can last up to six months or more until your body replaces dead nerve cells with new ones.
How To Fix Rotting Teeth
Many treatments are available for treating this condition; these can be divided into restorative and non-restorative types. Restorative treatments include crowns, veneers, and bridges whereas non-restorative type includes fissure sealants, fluoride varnishes, and anti-caries medications.
Root canal therapy is also a common treatment for root teeth decay. A root canal is a procedure that removes the abscessed pulp of the decayed tooth and replaces it with a protective filling that seals off the inside from bacteria. This is a more complete, thorough, and long-term solution to tooth decay. Most root canals are successful, but tooth pain may persist due to some complications such as root canal failure and recurrence of the abscessed pulp.
Rotten Teeth Decay Prevention
If you want to prevent rotting teeth, it is important to follow a healthy diet and take good care of your teeth and gums:
- Brush teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Eat less carbohydrate/sugar food and drinks
- Limit sugary foods like sweets, chocolate, biscuits, cakes, etc.
- Drink tap water (not bottled water) which has fluoride that strengthens teeth
- Visit your dentist regularly for checkups and professional cleaning
Rotten Teeth Effects On The Body
· Bad breath
Rotten teeth can lead to bad breath. If you have rotten teeth or tooth decay, bacteria build up in between your teeth and on top of your tongue. This bacteria is the cause of halitosis (bad breath) because it leaves an awful smell when it’s decomposing.
· Mouth Sores
Bacteria also grow in pockets around the backside of the gums leading to mouth sores which are similar to canker sores that form inside the mouth.
· Tooth loss
Tooth decay near the nerve increases the risk for not only cavities but also root tooth infections. The bacteria hide underneath the roots, where they begin to grow into the teeth. When this happens, a dentist has to remove part of the tooth and replace it with a crown or cap.
As bacteria build up in between your teeth, you are more likely to have infections. Weakened bones can allow for infection at the roots of your teeth, which causes an infection near the jaw bone. This can lead to swollen gums and serious pain that only gets worse!
Eventually, if left untreated, bad bacteria can spread through your whole body! For example, abscesses around the gums and on top of your tongue could drain into any of these areas:
i. Your neck (causing swelling and pain).
ii. Your brain (causing a headache and drowsiness, possible loss of consciousness).
iii. Your heart (bacteria can cause an infection in your heart, which can be very dangerous and even deadly if left untreated)!
iv. Your lungs (the infection will become pneumonia, causing coughing and chest pain. This is life-threatening if not treated with antibiotics).
You could also get abscesses or infections on your kidneys, liver, reproduction organs, and bones. That’s why it’s important to see the dentist as soon as you notice any symptoms.
Tooth decay and root-rotting teeth can be prevented by following a healthy diet and taking good care of your teeth and gums.
And if the worst-case scenario strikes, don’t hesitate to see your dentist because rotting teeth has serious consequences, including bad breath problems, mouth sores, tooth loss, and serious infections that can quickly spread throughout the body!
If you have any of the symptoms mentioned in this post, it’s important for you to see a dentist immediately!