Dental Caries: What Are They And How Are They Formed


Caries or cavities are perhaps the most common dental ailment faced by humans. Not only are they bad to look at, they are painful and slowly chew away your teeth and weaken your gums. A small cavity can lead to disastrous effects if not taken care of immediately.

What Causes Dental Carries?

The outer part of our teeth is tough while inner part consists of a soft tissue. The tough exterior part is made up of enamel which is composed of hardened minerals. The job of the enamel is to protect the dentin that contains soft pulp tissues and a network of nerves. The teeth are anchored to the gums with the help of another hard layer called the cementum. Both enamel and cementum protect the teeth and the enamel is naturally restored after some time. However, enamel is susceptible to damage if not taken care of.

Plaque is a thin, sticky layer of bacteria that forms over the enamel. If the plaque is not removed, it starts accumulating, damaging the enamel. The enamel becomes porous and the food that we eat starts to seep into the dentin causing severe pain. Dental caries are one of the consequences of plaque accumulation. Mostly the chewing surfaces of the teeth, especially molars suffer from cavities or caries. Caries are formed when the bacteria start eating away the surface of the teeth, completely breaking down the enamel. If the cavity is not dealt with immediately, it spreads down the tooth and causes severe inflammation in the dentin and may lead to a periodontal disease. Caries that forms on the chewing surface of the teeth are called pit caries while the ones that form at the gum line are smooth surface carries.

Dental caries are directly linked to your oral hygiene and food consumption. The plaque needs to be regularly removed and for that you need to make sure that your teeth are properly brushed and flossed. Sugary and acidic foods promote the bacterial growth in the mouth causing the plaque to spread and form cavities. That is why people who eat a lot of sugar and consume acidic foods have more cavities despite brushing their teeth daily. Coffee, tea, alcohol and cigarettes also increase the acidic level of your mouth.

Prevention and Treatment of Dental Caries:

In order to prevent dental caries from attacking your teeth you need keep a check on your food consumption and maintain a proper oral hygiene. You need to at least brush twice a day, ideally with a fluoride rich toothpaste, and floss after brushing. To further reduce chances of cavity formation, you must also rinse your mouth with a gentle mouth wash twice a day. If you eat a lot of sugary or acidic food then it is advised that you brush 20 minutes after you eat something sweet or spicy.

The treatment of dental caries depends on the extent to which the cavity has spread. If the cavity has just recently formed and is just a small hole then the dentists at Rensselaer dental center will just fill it in to prevent further damage. However, if the cavity has spread badly then you might be given a root canal treatment. But, root canal treatment is only performed when the dentin can still be reformed and the tooth can be saved. In situations where the infection spreads way below the gums and badly damages the pulp, the dentist might have to extract your tooth.

The best way to stop the dental caries from making any further damage to your teeth, you must immediately visit your dentist.

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