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Tooth decay is one of the most common issues treated by a dentist in Renton. Symptoms include toothache, tooth sensitivity, pain when eating or drinking warm or cold foods, stains on the teeth, and pain when biting down. It is essential to seek dental care for any kind of tooth pain, as it may be a sign of a more severe problem. Keep reading to learn how plaque’s formation, accumulation, and continued effects lead to tooth decay.

Initial Formation

A human mouth naturally contains many kinds of bacteria that thrive on sugar. When you do not brush, floss, and schedule regular teeth cleanings with your dentist, bacteria feed on sugars from the foods you eat. Eventually, acids are produced, and a sticky film called plaque forms. Unfortunately, if plaque is not removed while it is soft, it hardens and becomes tough for even a dentist to remove.

Continued Accumulation

The next step in tooth decay is when plaque attacks. As plaque builds up, its acids remove minerals in the harder outer enamel of your teeth. As your enamel erodes, tiny openings form. These miniscule holes are the first stage of a cavity. Without dental care, the enamel continues to wear off, and the next layer of tooth is exposed. This layer is called dentin and it is softer than enamel. For that reason, it is less able to resist acid, and tooth decay is imminent.

Persistent Effects

If left untreated by a dentist, tooth decay will continue to worsen. Bacteria and acid begin to move from the outside of teeth to the tooth’s innermost material, known as the pulp. The pulp then becomes swollen and irritated. Because a tooth’s pulp is packed with nerves, severe toothache usually results at this stage. Your body may also respond to bacteria by attempting to fight off the infection. At advanced stages of decay, a tooth abscess filled with pus will form.