How Tooth Decay Affects Your Oral Health

Tooth decay occurs when oral acids cause damage to your tooth enamel. The acids dissolve vital minerals within the enamel, leading to the formation of dental caries.The condition can cause multiple issues within your mouth. Here are few ways that tooth decay may impact your oral health:

Bad Breath

Tooth decay can cause bad breath. Severe instances of decay may result in a dental abscess or infection. Many abscessed teeth are filled with pus and emit a foul odor. 

In addition, as tooth decay causes cavities to form, debris from your meals and snacks may become caught in the holes in the teeth. This edible debris can deteriorate or rot within your mouth, becoming increasingly malodorous.

Tooth Discoloration

The color of your teeth may also be affected by decay. The natural color of tooth enamel is usually whitish gray or pale yellow.  However, the color can vary.

Deep cavities often have a dark appearance and can cause a tooth to look blackened, brown, or dark gray. This darkening in color will not likely respond to dental bleaches. Instead, the cavity would need to be treated by a filling and perhaps a dental crown to cover the tooth. 

Reduction in Jawbone

The health of your jawbone is partially dependent on the state of your teeth. When a tooth decays, the hole within the tooth may become an entryway for oral bacteria. These microbes can enter the hole and gain access to the jawbone through the dental roots. If the bone becomes infected, a great deal of bone mass may be lost.

In addition, if tooth decay results in the loss of a tooth, the area of the bone where the tooth originally rested may atrophy. The jawbone is dependent on the teeth to provide pressure for stimulation.

As the jawbone is stimulated by bite pressure, it produces more bone cells. Without the needed stimulation, the jawbone stops producing more bone cells, and the bone begins to shrink. This shrinkage can even affect other teeth, which may become loose in the bone due to the reduction in bone mass. This loosening could even result in the loss of more teeth.

Dental Misalignment

Teeth that are lost due to decay leave gaps along the palate. These gaps offer enough space for other teeth to migrate from their original position. As a result, the teeth may become crooked and require an orthodontic correction.

For more information about dental decay, contact dentists in your local area to schedule an appointment.