Caries: Causes, Prevention and Treatment
Caries are considered to be one of the most common dental diseases. Today, a huge number of people are diagnosed with it, regardless of their age and gender. To prevent the development of caries, it’s necessary to know the reasons for its occurrence. It’s also useful to follow preventive measures.
The main reason contributing to the destruction of dental tissue is microorganisms. They feed on what remains in the oral cavity after eating. The negative result of their vital activity is the formation of a specific organic acid. Under its influence, the gradual dissolution of the tooth tissue begins.
The factors leading to the development of caries are called cariesogenic. There are several of them:
- Innate inclination. Due to heredity, some people have a particular structure of the tooth tissue. Due to the minimal amount of the structural mineral hydroxyapatite or due to its modification, the risk of carious tooth damage appears already at an early age.
- Saliva is too viscous. Thanks to saliva, the teeth are naturally cleaned of white plaque. Viscous saliva fails to perform this function.
- Crowding of teeth. It doesn’t allow proper hygiene in the interdental space.
- A stone in the neck area. As a result of its formation, periodontal diseases occur.
- Excessive consumption of carbohydrates. Carbohydrate-containing products and sugary drinks accelerate the development of caries disease.
- Professional features. A number of professions are characterized by an increased risk of caries. These include manufacturing facilities where acid vapors are present as well as work in pastry shops.
- Injury of the crown. Due to a blow, fall or other injury, part of the enamel is exposed. It becomes more susceptible to the negative impact of stimuli that provoke the disease.
Among the entire list of cariesogenic factors, improper oral care was and remains the most common. Caries are most often formed because of improper organization, insufficiency or lack of hygienic procedures.
Manifestation of the disease
Experts identify several areas where carious disease manifests itself most frequently:
- Blind pits on the incisors
- Cervical region of the frontal and chewing areas
- Contact surfaces
- Fissures of molars
In addition to the typical areas where the disease manifests itself, there are also atypical ones, such as:
- Bumps on the chewing surfaces of the molars
- Tearing bumps on the canines
- Cutting edges of the incisors
It’s much more difficult to cure pathology in these places.
Like any other disease, it’s easier to prevent carious tooth damage than to cure it. To achieve this goal, you should regularly take preventive care of your teeth. Since no one is 100% protected from the formation of caries, it’s recommended that everyone take care of their teeth without exception.
Preventive measures aimed at minimizing the risk of this disease are usually divided into three stages.
The primary set of measures provides for actions of a general and dedicated nature. General methods are those that have a positive effect on the whole body:
- Maintaining a balance regarding the food consumed. The food should feature an optimal ratio of fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Vitamins and trace elements that are useful for the body must be present in it.
- General strengthening procedures. This means hardening and taking medications that strengthen the immune system.
- Thorough chewing of food. This process plays a particularly important role during the period when the temporary bite of a child changes to a permanent one (at the age of 3 to 12 years).
The dedicated preventive measures inside the oral cavity are called exogenous. They include self-care (brushing teeth and tongue as well as using mouthwash) and mandatory professional hygiene. The latter should be carried out by a dentist at least once every six months. It’s also advisable to periodically take medications with fluoride and calcium prescribed by a doctor.
To avoid problems with teeth, you should minimize the consumption of sweets. Various chewing candies, lollipops and toffees cause particularly strong harm. Due to prolonged contact with the enamel, they accelerate its destruction.
Sealing of fissures is used as an effective measure to prevent the occurrence of caries in children. Milk teeth have sufficiently deep grooves in the chewing areas. These grooves should be sealed in a timely manner to ensure the further formation of healthy permanent teeth.
When a carious disease already occurs, primary prevention will only slow down its development but won’t fix the problem. In such a situation, it’s necessary to proceed to the second stage — that is, therapeutic treatment. It consists of the following procedures:
- Remineralizing therapy
- Preparation and sealing of damaged elements
- Elimination of pulpitis and periodontitis
The earlier you start the treatment procedures, the faster and easier you’ll achieve recovery and will be able to maintain a beautiful smile.
Sometimes, as a result of a severe carious lesion, it becomes impossible to preserve the tooth. Then, it’s advisable to switch to the third preventive stage — the removal of diseased elements. After that, it’s definitely recommended to carry out procedures aimed at restoring dentition. Otherwise, chewing functions will be disrupted. In the future, this is fraught with issues with the oral cavity and can impact the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.