The Different Stages of Tooth Decay and How to Prevent It

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Untreated cavities can result in toothache that requires treatment. The earlier the cavity is found, the easier it is to fix and slow down the progress of this disease.  

This is a gradual process that usually does not cause pain. As the enamel starts to fade, you may see a white spot on your teeth. Orthodontic treatment with your dentist will help you regain the lost minerals and make your teeth stronger.

Here is a detailed discussion on the tooth decay process. 

1) Demineralization

When the pH of your saliva is too high, it makes the enamel brittle, which is the first stage of tooth decay.

A low pH level in the saliva is usually caused by a diet consisting of foods with high acidic content. Water and acidic beverages can also contribute to this level as well because they contain a high percentage of minerals.

2) Enamel Decay 

Your tooth enamel is more susceptible to cavities when you get your teeth cleaned too often, are too rough while brushing, use hard toothbrushes, or do not use fluoride toothpaste.

It is important to maintain the pH level of your saliva at a physiological level so the enamel of your teeth can remain resistant to bacteria.

3) Dentin Acidity

Dentin is the soft tissue that lies under the enamel of a tooth. In comparison to enamel, which is much harder than dentin, dentin can lead to the teeth being more sensitive to acid and bacteria. 

This is because the enamel has many tiny holes in it, which allow the pain nerve fibers in tissue to lead to the nerves of the tooth.  The dentine layer is exposed when the enamel layer has been decalcified, and the dentine is exposed. The dentine often has a higher pH level than the enamel.

4) Pulp Damage

The pulp of the tooth is a soft tissue under the dentine layer. It contains the tooth’s nerve. It is the sensitive part of the tooth, but it is also the part that has a higher pH level than the rest of the tooth.

As the pulp’s pH rises, it can cause discomfort. This is why we often feel pain on the tooth when it is exposed to an acidic environment.

5) Abscess

An abscess is a pocket of pus that appears when we have an infection. If the bacteria infect the pulp, the infection can be very painful.

If this infection spreads to the facial tissue, which is called pericoronitis, the pain is even more intense. The prolonged use of a toothbrush often causes pericoronitis.

How to Prevent Tooth Decay

There are some basic ways to prevent the formation of cavities. Brushing your teeth and flossing regularly will keep your teeth healthy and clean.

If you are not used to flossing, try using a flosser with a mouthwash to rinse it out as soon as you are done, so you will be less likely to get cavities.


There are many ways to prevent and treat tooth decay, and we should take action as soon as possible if you see any signs of tooth decay or infection. The longer we wait, the more serious the infection can become.

If you are in need of a natural remedy for toothache, Sudbury Dental Arts can help. We are a family dentist in Sudbury that will work with you to preserve your dental health. Get in touch with us today to learn more.



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