Tooth Decay: Understanding the Condition, Causes, and Prevention

Tooth decay, also known as cavities or dental caries, is a common dental condition in which the enamel of the teeth begins to deteriorate due to the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. When the enamel breaks down, it creates tiny holes, or cavities, in the teeth. Among adults in the Western World, Tooth decay is of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults, and it is most commonly caused by poor oral hygiene and a diet high in sugar.

Unfortunately, this combination of poor diet and lack of correct dental hygiene is very common in the Western world. This article will explore the causes, indicators, treatment options, and prevention methods for tooth decay.

Common Causers of Tooth Decay

In most cases of Tooth Decay the fundamental cause is the build-up of plaque on the teeth, through poor diet or simply insufficient levels of dental hygiene. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on over the teeth and gums. When sugar and carbohydrates are consumed, the bacteria within plaque produce acid, which can erode the enamel on the teeth. This erosion can lead to the formation of cavities. Other factors contributing to tooth decay include poor oral hygiene, a diet high in sugar, smoking, and dry mouth.

Image of molar tooth that has decayed on a patients and needs to be removed by dentists in Brighton, Queensland

What to Look Out For When Checking for Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can be difficult to detect in its early stages. However, there are specific indicators that can signal the presence of tooth decay before having to visit the dentist. These include:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Visible holes or pits in the teeth
  • Pain or discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Discolouration of the teeth
  • Bad breath
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • Treatment of Tooth Decay

The treatment options available to treat tooth decay depend on the severity of the decay. A filling may be used to repair the cavity in the early stages of tooth decay. A root canal or a dental crown may be necessary in more advanced cases to treat tooth decay. In severe cases of tooth decay, the tooth may need to be removed.

The Best Methods to Prevent the Onset Tooth Decay

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and using an antiseptic mouthwash. It is also essential to limit the consumption of sugary foods and drinks and to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. 

Schedule an Appointment Today

We offer same-day visits and late opening hours that work around your schedule. Do you think that you might suffer from Bruxism or Teeth Grinding? Contact our team today to discuss your teeth. We’re providers with Medibank, HCF and MDF. You can claim your health fund rebate on the spot with our HICAPS machine.

* Any invasive or surgical procedure may carry risks. Before moving forward, it is recommended that you seek a second opinion from an appropriately licensed medical professional.

FAQ Common Questions about Tooth Decay

Can Tooth Decay be Reversed?

In the early stages, it is possible to tooth decay with proper oral hygiene and consistent use of fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. However, once a cavity has formed, it can only be treated with a filling or other restorative procedure.

Can Tooth Decay Cause Other Health Problems?

Prolonged tooth decay might very well lead to other health problems, such as infections, abscesses, and tooth loss. It can also increase the risk of developing other conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.


Does Tooth Decay only Occur in Cchildren?

No, tooth decay can occur in both children and adults. However, it is more common in children due to their developing teeth, and they tend to consume more sugary foods and drinks.

Has Brighton Dental Suite Noticed an Increase in cases of Tooth Decay?

Yes, at Brighton Dental Suite, we have observed a noticeable rise in cases of tooth decay. This increase can be attributed to several factors, such as poor oral hygiene practices, dietary choices and lifestyle factors. We want to stress the importance of regular dental check-ups, diligent oral care routines, and a balanced diet to mitigate the risk of tooth decay.

What are the Costs Associated with Tooth Decay, from Minor to Severe Cases?

The cost associated with treating tooth decay at Brighton Dental Suite can vary depending on the extent of decay. For minor cases, such as small cavities, the cost typically ranges from $150 to $450 for fillings. However, for more advanced cases that require treatments such as root canal treatment or dental crowns, the costs can range from $1000 to $4000. Please note that these figures are general estimates, and actual costs may vary based on individual circumstances.

Can Tooth Decay be Prevented with Fluoride Alone?

Fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay, but it should be used in conjunction with good oral hygiene practices such as brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

Does Genetics Cause Tooth Decay?

While genetics can play a role in the development of tooth decay, it is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene and a diet.

Make an Appointment Today