Caries is the destruction of hard tissues of the tooth: enamel and dentin, due to physical and chemical dissolution by organic acids accumulating in the oral cavity as a result of the activity of microorganisms – “carious monsters”, during the breakdown of carbohydrates.
There are many different opinions about what causes caries. According to the latest data, caries is caused by poor oral hygiene. On hard-to-reach parts of the tooth, plaque forms, which serves as a substrate for the life and nutrition of microbes.
Processing food carbohydrates microbes secrete lactic acid, which leads to enamel demineralization, making it thin and brittle.
You can guess what’s going on the appearance of a stain on the tooth that differs from the enamel in color. Over time, the stain turns brown. In this state, caries can exist for a long time, and can progress rapidly, leading to the formation of a cavity in the tooth.
Food is retained in the cavity, which aggravates the course of the process. If you do not seek help from a dentist in time, pulpitis may develop – inflammation of the soft tissues of the tooth.. In this case, the main symptom is intense toothache.
Natural protection against caries
Our body has well-developed protective reserves that can maintain our health and well-being for a long time even in extreme conditions. Thus, tooth enamel is the most durable substance in the body. It is second only to diamond in hardness. Enamel is able to withstand significant temperature changes, high mechanical pressure, and so on. The vulnerable link of the tooth is its sensitivity to the pH of the environment. In an acidic environment, enamel quickly deteriorates.
Tooth weaknesses and caries risk factors
- interdental spaces, natural grooves and pits on the surface of the tooth are poorly cleaned of plaque and serve as a place for accumulation of microbes
- the less fluoride in the enamel, the faster it is destroyed
- with poor hygiene, caries develops faster
- saliva protects teeth from caries. It has an antibacterial effect and mechanically cleans the oral cavity.
- the more carbohydrates in the food, the higher the likelihood of developing caries
- general health also affects the condition of the teeth, in the presence of chronic diseases, the likelihood of caries increases
Read next: Does sweets affect
for the development of caries?
Does sweet cause cavities?
Sweet dishes contain, as a rule, a large amount of fast carbohydrates: glucose, fructose, sucrose. These carbohydrates are quickly broken down in the mouth and washed off with saliva.
Foods containing slow carbohydrates are much more dangerous: bread, pastries, pasta, etc. Complex carbohydrates (glycogen) are also found in meat products.
Slow carbohydrates stay in the oral cavity for a long time, are slowly broken down, and therefore can change the acidity of the environment in the mouth for a long time.
Thus, the greatest danger to the teeth is the time that carbohydrates spend in the mouth, and not their chemical composition. A sausage sandwich eaten at night can be more harmful to teeth than a chocolate candy.
The main measure for the prevention of caries is oral hygiene, brushing your teeth twice a day, using floss – dental floss, with which you can effectively clean the interdental spaces and proper nutrition. After eating, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or a special rinse.
You should visit the dentist at least 1-2 times a year, even if, in your opinion, nothing threatens your teeth. The doctor will be able to identify the initial caries in a timely manner and take measures to treat it, remove tartar, which serves as a source of infection in the mouth and is the cause of the development of periodontal disease and periodontitis.
It is allowed to use chewing gum within 5-10 minutes after eating. Chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which contributes to the rapid cleaning of the oral cavity from food debris.
For drug prevention of caries, fluoride preparations are used.