What is caries and how does it form?

Dental caries is a multifactorial disease affecting the teeth.. It is related to diet, intraoral bacteria, saliva composition, and other factors.

It first damages the enamel, the surface layer of the tooth, and gradually works its way down to the pulp. The culprits of its formation are cariogenic bacteriaof which the most relevant is Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria demineralize the tooth enamel and cause pathologies.

child with tooth decay and a finger in his mouth
Sugary products feed the bacteria that destroy tooth enamel.

How are cavities formed?

Not only the presence of bacteria is necessary for the origin of the disease. There are other risk factors:

  • Decreased oral pH due to consumption of acidic drinks or foods, such as carbonated drinks.
  • Cariogenic diet (high consumption of sugar, sticky foods, etc.)
  • Bad oral hygiene.
  • Small amount of saliva.
  • Dental crowding which makes hygiene difficult.
  • Enamel abnormalities, such as hypocalcifications.
  • periodontal disease.
Very unhealthy food on the table
Dietary sugar is largely responsible for cavity formation.

Tooth decay begins as a chalky-looking white spot caused by a enamel hypocalcification. If it continues to demineralize, the disease progresses and a dark colored cavitation forms.

During its evolution it is even capable of splitting the dental piece. Once the caries reaches the dentin, Sensitivity to cold, heat and sweets begins to appear. The treatment at this time would be a filling.

Blond woman touching her cheek because she has a pain in her teeth

If not treated in time, the decay continues to advance and reaches the pulp, giving rise to more or less intense dental pain. A tooth infection and abscess can form at the root apex. When the decay reaches this point, the only possible treatment is endodontics.

How to avoid it?

The easiest ways to prevent tooth decay are:

1. Adequate oral hygiene that eliminates plaque

Brushing your teeth is the most effective way to prevent tooth decay. Mechanical brushing removes plaque and food residues which accumulate in the teeth and act as a niche for bacterial colonies.

woman with toothbrush
Brushing your teeth every day prevents the formation of bacterial plaque that causes tartar and other oral problems.

The dentist must teach how to brush correctly and recommend a toothbrush and toothpaste suitable for each patient’s needs.

2. Use of fluoride toothpastes and rinses

It is necessary to use fluoride mouthwashes and toothpastes which help the remineralization of the enamel, as makes it more resistant to the action of cariogenic bacteria.

The following measures in addition to the toothbrush improve hygiene, but can never replace this habit:

  • Change in diet: Less sugary foods should be consumed.
  • Go to the dentist at least twice a year.
  • Using dental sealants in children.

Upon finding a carious lesion or any warning signs, it is advisable to go to the dentist to eliminate the lesion and prevent its further evolution.

The post What is tooth decay and how does it form? first appeared on research-school



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