Why Small Gaps Between Teeth Can Lead to Tooth Decay

Dentist Blog

Have small gaps begun to appear between your teeth? Then you should take special care to ensure you clean those areas thoroughly. Small gaps, especially those between crooked teeth, become food traps. Since these areas are hard to see and reach with a toothbrush, there is a risk that tooth decay could develop between your teeth.

But, first, why does it happen? Why do spaces form between teeth that were once close together?

Mesial Drift Causes Gaps

A major reason why someone who once had optimally spaced teeth now has gaps between their teeth is mesial drift. This refers to the natural movement of teeth toward the front of the mouth over time. According to research, the way your teeth come together also has an effect on tooth movement.

Furthermore, because your teeth experience wear and tear from eating, clenching and grinding, for example, the way your teeth come together changes over time. In turn, this will cause your teeth to move and gradually form gaps in areas that were once gap free. 

Unfortunately, mesial drift may also cause teeth to become crooked or twisted. These kinds of gaps are not just unattractive; they are also high risk for tooth decay.

Trapped Food Causes Tooth Decay

Small gaps, such as the one between the front teeth of some people, can trap food. However, as long as you are brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day, plaque and food debris won't build up in the gap.

Plaque contains tooth-decay causing bacteria, and food debris feeds the bacteria, helping it to multiply. This alone doesn't cause tooth decay. Once the bacteria have fed on the food debris, they produce an acidic waste product that begins to dissolve the enamel surface of your teeth. In time, the damage may reach the dentin layer, after which the decay accelerates rapidly.

Gaps between crooked teeth come with high risk because they are harder to reach with floss or a toothbrush. There could even be areas that you can't see behind or between two crooked teeth.

You Should See Your Dentist Soon

If you have noticed new gaps between your teeth or your teeth are becoming crooked, book a dental check-up as soon as possible. It doesn't take long for tooth decay to set in, especially if your diet is high in sugar and carbohydrates like those found in bread, which tooth-decay causing bacteria can quickly break down into sugars. Talk to a dentist to learn more.


12 June 2019

Unraveling Dental Myths about Children: A Blog for Parents

When I had my first child, I was a nervous wreck. Every book I read gave different advice, and I just wanted to be right! By the time I had my third child, some of the stress had abated. I now realised, there were tons of different perspectives on everything related to raising children including dentistry. To help parents, I have created this blog dedicated to unraveling dental myths about children. I am including posts that weigh both sides of issues such as thumb sucking, dental caries, breastfeeding, flossing and any other topic I can think of. I hope you find the information you need to unravel dental myths, but most importantly, I hope you find some peace of mind. With kids and dentistry, there can be more than one right answer, and I want you to be able to relax and go with the answer that's right for you.