Just saying “rotten teeth” gives me the heebie-jeebies. Just the phrase alone is enough to make you wanna brush your teeth right now.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know in order to avoid rotten teeth, including causes, symptoms, and prevention strategies.
What Causes Rotten Teeth?
There are a number of reasons a person’s teeth may begin to rot. In some cases, it could be multiple of these issues that lead to rotting teeth.
Either way, it’s important to understand the most common causes of rotten teeth so you can do your best to prevent that from happening.
Bad Oral Hygiene
This is probably the most common and the easiest to avoid. Simply brushing 2-3 times a day and flossing every day can significantly reduce the likelihood of rotten teeth.
Brushing and flossing help remove plaque and keep your teeth strong and in good condition. Also, you should visit your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings.
Bad Eating Habits
Eating lots of sugars and carbs is not good if you’re trying to keep your mouth healthy.
Sugar is like steroids for bacteria — it helps it grow at a rapid pace. The more bacteria in your mouth, the more acid that sits untouched, the more likely it is that you’ll develop plaque, which can lead to dental problems. Sugar, if you eat a lot of it and don’t brush regularly, can erode your enamel, the protective outer layer of your teeth.
If you’re not producing enough saliva — which helps wash away bacteria — you could end up with more plaque and acid hanging out in your mouth. Thus, increasing the chance of tooth decay.
Dental crevices are little grooves that develop in unhealthy teeth. They’re also the perfect place for bacteria to hide, away from the reach of your toothbrush. If you have these dental grooves, you should mention it to your dentist — they may want to use a sealant to close them.
Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps strengthen your tooth enamel. You may not know this, but fluoride is added to our public water supply in the United States. So if you don’t use a fluoride-infused toothpaste or drink city water, your risk of tooth decay is higher.
Leaving A Baby With Their Bottle
If a baby is left alone with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice, they could fall asleep with it in their mouth. Sugar then collects around their little baby teeth and can decay them. The same applies to babies who get a pacifier that’s dipped in sugar or honey.
Rotten Tooth Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of rotten teeth may seem somewhat harmless, but if you experience of them, you should call your dentist right away.
The most common symptoms are tooth pain (i.e. a toothache) and tooth sensitivity. Usually, you’ll experience pain when biting down on hot foods, cold foods, or sweet foods.
Other symptoms can include a rotten tooth smell, holes in your teeth (cavities), and brown or black discoloration. If you notice any of these symptoms, your tooth decay is probably much more developed and you should definitely get in touch with your dentist.
If an infection has already started, you might notice swelling, pus, or pain so bad that it affects your ability to eat or drink.
In severe, untreated cases, rotting teeth can simply fall out.
Rotten Teeth Effects On The Body
Just as the eyes are the gateway to the soul, the mouth is the gateway to the body. How you take care of your mouth usually indicates how you take care of your whole body. And if something goes wrong in your mouth, it can either lead to or be an indication of something wrong with your overall health.
Bacteria that build up can lead to an infection, which can affect the whole immune system. Your body attacks the infection, causing inflammation. If the inflammation continues for too long without getting under control, it could start to hurt the rest of you.
Having rotten teeth surely means something bad is going on in the mouth. And that means something is probably a muck in another part of your body.
The connection between oral health and diabetes is a strong one. Inflammation in the mouth weakens the whole body’s ability to keep blood sugar under control.
This is not good news for people with diabetes. And high blood sugar levels are really good new for infections — that’s where they grow best.
Experts don’t completely know why, but gum disease and heart disease are often partners in crime. About 91% of people with heart disease also have periodontitis while 66% of people with no heart disease have periodontitis.
People who smoke, don’t eat healthily, and are obese are more likely to experience both heart disease and gum disease.
The idea is that inflammation slows the flow of blood between the heart and the rest of the body. Inflammation means the blood vessels are inflamed, hence the slower flow.
In general, inflammation and infection can interfere with a baby’s development in the womb, so if a pregnant woman’s teeth or gums are inflamed, the baby could be affected. So it’s best for pregnant women to continue to visit their dentist on a regular basis.
Both osteoporosis and periodontitis involve bone loss. However, not every professional agrees that the two are inherently connected.
Even though there’s not an established correlation or causation, some studies show that women who have osteoporosis also had gum disease at a higher rate than those who didn’t.
Can Rotten Teeth Be Fixed?
If you’ve experienced a rotten tooth, it’s not too late to turn things around, as long as it’s still just early tooth decay.
If the tooth rot is still in the early stages, this is usually just called a cavity. Your dentist can do what’s called a “fluoride treatment” that will remineralize the tooth and fix the issue. This method is great for small cavities, but if it’s a bigger cavity, your dentist may have to do more work on it.
If the tooth rot is extremely advanced, you may need to have a root canal treatment, especially if the rotting has developed into the center of the tooth. Basically, the dentist will remove the nerve and the pulp and then seal the empty space. If it’s really bad, the dentist may opt for a complete tooth removal and give you a fake tooth.
Preventing Rotten Teeth
The best way to prevent rotting teeth is to brush and floss every single day. Doing these things scrubs away bacteria and removes food debris.
The best times to brush are after breakfast and before bed and even after lunch. Flossing is probably best done before bed and rinsing with mouthwash once a day can really help too. And then, of course, visiting your dentist on a regular basis will ensure you’re staying ahead of any bacteria or plaque buildup, and therefore any chance of rotten teeth.
Preventing rotten teeth isn’t something you should take care of tomorrow. It’s not one of those things you can procrastinate on. Each day you don’t take care of your teeth is a day closer to rotten teeth.
- Things like bad oral hygiene, bad eating habits, dry mouth, cavities, and fluoride deficiency can lead to rotten teeth.
- Any pain, discomfort, or discoloration of the teeth is cause for concern and should be looked at by a dentist. These things could be symptoms of rotting teeth.
- Rotten teeth have been correlated with other health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. also, poor oral hygiene can affect pregnancy.
- Yes, a dental professional can fix a rotten tooth, but the sooner you take care of it, the better. The earlier you take care of developing tooth rot, the less work the dentist will have to do.
- The best way to prevent rotten teeth is to take care of your teeth, gums, and your whole mouth — brush, floss, and eat healthily.