We may not like to think about it, but hundreds of types of bacteria live and thrive inside our mouths. Some types of bacteria are beneficial to our health, but the majority of them can cause problems that lead to dental issues.

With regard to dental health, every day there is a constant battle between the forces of good and bad inside your mouth; the protectors of your teeth and those elements who will do them harm.

The attackers in this conflict are acids that wear away the hard protective enamel of your teeth, removing necessary minerals and causing them to decay.

The tooth's outer protective layer of enamel is the most durable tissue in your body, but without proper care it can break down and make your teeth vulnerable to attack. And unlike bones, which can regenerate themselves after being damaged, tooth enamel does not contain living cells and therefore cannot regenerate or repair itself. Once damage has been done to this protective insulative covering of teeth, it is permanent.

On the other side of this epic oral battle are the good elements that help to protect the protective enamel and your teeth - saliva and fluoride. Your saliva contains beneficial minerals that help to strengthen and sustain the protective enamel layer of your teeth.

In addition, fluoride is a beneficial mineral that both helps not only to restore a mineral deficit in the enamel, but also to neutralize acids in the mouth that can damage teeth. Fluoride comes from toothpaste and fluoridated water.

This back-and-forth battle for the strength and health of your teeth occurs throughout the day. Every day. And when the forces of evil bacteria and acids overcome the teeth's protective defenses, minerals are lost and the process of tooth decay begins.

The first step in the process is enamel erosion, a loss of minerals and weakening of the enamel. The first telling signs of this can include tooth sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures (experiencing pain while drinking hot coffee or eating ice cream). Other possible symptoms include white or dark-colored spots on teeth, bad breath, inflamed gums and toothaches.

Enamel erosion can also lead to the development of small dental imperfections like chips, cracks and indented areas, and tooth discoloration. 

These small imperfections then develop into cavities. If left untreated, the cavities will grow and can lead to tooth infections and further decay, and the tooth will ultimately be lost. Another possibility is that the decay may lead to an infection that infects the internal pulp of the tooth, in which case a root canal will be required to remove the affected dental pulp.

If you have tooth pain or suspect that you may be experiencing tooth decay, find a competent Nogales dentist who can help you stop the decay and have a healthier smile.

Related Treatment Options

Dental cleaning

Dental fillings

Dental crowns

Dental bonding

Root canal

Tooth extraction