When we think about tooth decay and cavities, we tend to think about darker spot or hole on the surface of a tooth. But, many of us don’t know that cavities can occur on the ROOT of a tooth… so long as it’s been exposed by insufficient (receded) gum tissue. This oral health issue is referred to as “root decay”.
Am I at risk for root decay?
Anyone with exposed dental roots or notable gum recession is at risk for root decay. That said, it’s primarily seniors and older adults who experience this problem the most – as their gum recession tends to be the most severe. In addition to this, the senior population tends to have a dryer mouth environment due to medication – raising their risk for root decay even higher. This is because a dry mouth lacks the #1 protector against decay: saliva.
How do I protect my smile from root decay?
Root decay is preventable through good daily oral hygiene care. This includes daily flossing, as well as GENTLE brushing twice a day, using no other than a soft bristled toothbrush. This is because aggressive or abrasive tooth cleaning is one of the main contributors to gum recession. In conjunction with diligent and gentle daily oral care, a visit to the dentist and hygienist every 6 months (or as required) will also help to ensure your gums and teeth stay in tip top shape.
A cavity that exists on the root of the tooth is treated in the same way that a cavity penetrating the enamel is treated – with a dental filling! However, timeliness is key when it comes to treating a cavity on the root. This is because the decay can reach the tooth’s pulp at a much faster rate than if it were to begin on the tooth’s surface enamel, causing irreversible damage. If root decay is discovered too late, it a root canal procedure may be the only option – or worse, tooth extraction.
How long has it been since you’ve visited the dentist and hygienist?
Are you due for a check-up and cleaning? Our friendly team of dental professionals would love to see you! Call or e-mail us today to book an appointment.