Dental caries or tooth decay is one of the prevalent diseases in humans affecting almost 97% of the population worldwide. It is a breakdown of teeth due to acids made by bacteria. It is the result of constant snacking, sipping on sugary drinks and poor dental hygiene.
Dental Caries or simply Cavities are a result of uncontrolled growth of bacteria in your mouth which are kept in check by our immune system under normal circumstances. However, the leftover food particles on our teeth help them grow uncontrollably to the point where they can start dissolve the outer enamel of our teeth. Their major source of energy is the sugar that stays on your teeth after you eat or sip on any sugary food or drink. Although with proper oral hygiene, cavities can be kept at bay.
Certain diseases such as diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome (Dry mouth) or certain medications could be the reason for low saliva production in your mouth. Caries is a disease where the person suffering from it may not even know about it. Initially, there is a small carious mark indicating the start of demineralizing of the enamel. With time this small spot can change its color turning into brown cavitation. The process is reversible till the point before the spot change into a cavity. However, if ignored and the cavity forms, then the tooth loses its normal structure which cannot be restored.
Once the enamel is destroyed beyond the point of return, the cavities become more noticeable. At this point, the affected part of the tooth changes its color. In case the decay passes through the enamel and dentin to the pulp chamber, the nerves to the tooth becomes exposed resulting in pain and sensitivity to hot or cold food/drinks. Extensive internal decay can make the tooth lose the gum grip even under normal chewing forces. Once the bacteria reach the internal pulp chamber overwhelming the tissue, the normal toothache can turn into constant tremendous pain. The destruction of the tissue in the pulp chamber will render the tooth insensitive to hot or cold and tender to touch. Cavities can also result in Halitosis or bad breath and foul tastes. High progression of cavities can result in Periodontitis where the decay spread to the surrounding gums and tissues.
What is the solution to this? The very first thing that needs to be done is to keep an eye on eating habits. Start with a diet with low sugar intakes such as sweets and drinks. A proper diet containing vitamins and mineral-rich food can help maintain optimum oral and overall health. Brushing and flossing twice a day is generally recommended. Frequent visits to the dentist are a must because they can detect any bad oral condition before it even starts to spread. Brushing with a fluoridated toothpaste will help to gain back the lost minerals to a certain extent. Flossing with a water flosser is much more effective than that of traditional string flossing. This will reduce the risk of plaque settling on your teeth which can grow into a bigger oral problem.
An aching tooth is better out than in. To lose a rotting member is a gain. - Richard Baxter. Let’s not allow ourselves to be a part of this situation.