What is caries and how is it formed?

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

First, it damages the enamel, the superficial layer of the tooth, and little by little it advances until it reaches the pulp. The culprits of its formation are cariogenic bacteria, of which the most relevant are the Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria demineralize the tooth enamel and cause the pathology.

The sugary products feed the bacteria that destroy the tooth enamel.

How is caries formed?

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

  • Lowering of oral pH due to the consumption of beverages or acidic foods such as, for example, carbonated drinks.
  • Cariogenic diet (high consumption of sugars, sticky foods, etc.)
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Little amount of saliva.
  • Dental crowding that hinders hygiene.
  • Abnormalities in the enamel, such as hypocalcifications.
  • Periodontal disease.

Read also: Oral hygiene in children

The sugar in the diet is largely responsible for the formation of caries.

The caries begins as a white spot, with a black appearance, caused by a hypocalcification of the enamel. If it continues to demineralize, the disease progresses and a dark colored cavitation forms.

During its evolution it is even capable of splitting the tooth. Once the decay reaches the dentin, begins to present sensitivity to cold, heat and sweet. The treatment at this time would be the filling.

If not treated in time, decay continues to advance and reaches the pulp, resulting in more or less intense dental pain. An infection and a dental abscess can form at the level of the root apex. When caries reaches this point, the only possible treatment is endodontics.

Discover: What is a dental abscess and how should it be treated?

How to avoid it?

The easiest ways to avoid cavities are:

1. Proper oral hygiene that removes plaque

The habit of tooth brushing is the most effective way to avoid tooth decay. Mechanical brushing removes plaque and food debris that accumulate in the teeth and serve as a niche for bacterial colonies.

Washing your teeth every day will prevent the formation of bacterial plaque that causes tartar and other oral problems.

The dentist must teach how to perform a proper brushing as well as recommend a brush and a paste appropriate to the needs of each patient.

2.Using fluorinated mouthwashes and toothpaste

The use of fluorinated mouthwashes and toothpastes that help to remineralize the enamel is necessary, since It makes it more resistant to the action of cariogenic bacteria.

The following additional measures to tooth brushing improve hygiene, but they can never replace this habit:

  • Change in diet: less sugary foods should be consumed.
  • Go to check-ups with the dentist at least 2 times a year.
  • Use dental sealants in children.

After finding a carious lesion, or any warning signal, it is advisable to go to the dentist to eliminate the injury and keep it from evolving.

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