Why Damaged or Decayed Teeth Deteriorate Faster Than Intact Teeth

Posted on: 6 October 2020

When intact, your teeth are protected by an impenetrable wall of enamel. Enamel is so hard that not even bone can match it in terms of hardness. But despite being the hardest material in the human body, enamel isn't very thick, unlike bone. Nor can enamel regenerate like bone can. Once damaged by trauma or decay then, a tooth cannot ever return to its former glory without a dentist's help.

Unfortunately, once damaged by decay or trauma, a tooth is much more vulnerable to deterioration.

Oral Bacteria Hide in Damaged Teeth

The main cause of tooth and gum infections in the mouth is the oral bacteria that reside there. If you brush your teeth twice a day as well as floss, you can easily remove oral bacteria from the smooth enamel surfaces of your teeth. This is important, as oral bacteria damage tooth enamel by excreting acidic compounds onto them. Good oral hygiene protects your enamel from damage.

But if trauma or decay damages a tooth badly enough to penetrate the enamel layer, then a cavity forms in the tooth. This cavity acts like a cave that oral bacteria can hide inside, safe from the bristles of your toothbrush. While inside a damaged tooth, oral bacteria breed. But the more oral bacteria in a tooth, the more acidic compounds there are to damage that tooth.

Teeth Are Softer Inside

Although enamel is harder than bone, it isn't very thick. Nor does it grow back once damaged. If the interior of a tooth is exposed to bacteria, the only thing protecting that tooth from a bad infection is dentin. Dentin isn't designed to protect teeth like enamel is. Dentin provides a tooth with support by acting as a cushion during chewing. Dentin also contains tubules that nourish tooth enamel.

But because of its sponge-like composition, dentin is vulnerable to the acidic compounds that oral bacteria excrete. While enamel can stand up to the damage of oral bacteria for months or years, dentin tends to fail much more quickly. Unfortunately, the nerve that essentially keeps a tooth alive lies just beyond the dentin layer in the centre of a tooth.

If the enamel layer of one of your teeth fails then and bacteria get inside that tooth, that tooth will deteriorate very rapidly.

If one of your teeth looks badly damaged or decayed, seek urgent treatment from a dentist. Otherwise, that tooth will fall prey to the acids of oral bacteria very quickly.