The term "caries" in Latin means "putrefaction" and quite accurately describes the condition of the teeth in this disease. Caries is the destruction of the tooth, which begins with the dissolution of the mineral substances that make up the tooth, followed by the destruction of the hard tissues of the tooth and the formation of a cavity.
Demineralization or erosion of mineral substances forming enamel occurs under the action of bacteria. As a result of poor oral hygiene, a soft plaque appears on the enamel. This plaque binds firmly to the surface of the tooth and serves as a place of concentration of various bacteria. It has been proven that caries does not develop in animals whose bodies are devoid of bacteria, even in cases when these animals are kept on a cariesogenic diet. By absorbing the carbohydrates that make up the plaque, the bacteria secrete organic acids. The acidic environment contributes to the destruction of apatite crystals, which are part of the enamel, the outer protective shell of the tooth. After that, the microbes penetrate into the underlying layers and begin to destroy them.
Of course, the cause of caries is not only the presence of microbes in the oral cavity, but also a number of other factors, for example, heredity. Nutrition is of great importance. Insufficient intake of proteins, vitamins, mineral salts, fluorine and various trace elements into the body contributes to the development of caries. And eating a lot of sweets only helps bacteria destroy teeth. The composition and properties of saliva play an important role. It was found that the saliva of people exposed to caries is more viscous and the ratio of the content of mineral salts has been changed in it.
Symptoms of caries
There are several stages of caries.
Spot stage: when examined, a white or dark spot is found on the surface of the tooth. At this stage, a person usually does not experience any unpleasant sensations.
Stage of superficial caries: accompanied by short-term pain under the action of mechanical and temperature stimuli. The enamel becomes rough.
Stage of medium caries: the carious cavity is determined.
Stage of deep caries: the cavity increases. touching the cavity causes pain.
If you do not consult a doctor at the beginning of the disease, the process of tooth destruction will progress, microbes will penetrate through the dentin into the pulp of the tooth and cause its inflammation pulpitis, which, if left untreated, will turn into periodontitis, which ultimately can lead to tooth loss and more dangerous complications.
What can you do
In order not to miss the first signs of caries, you should visit the dentist at least once a year. The fact is that in the first stages, caries is asymptomatic, and it is quite difficult to notice a small spot with an inexperienced eye yourself. We can see the chewing surface of the tooth. And caries can be located on the lateral surface.
It is important to understand that if caries has appeared, then it will not heal on its own and will only progress. That is why, if you notice any of these symptoms, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible.
What a doctor can do
The dentist will determine the degree of caries development and choose the appropriate treatment method. At the same time, the earlier treatment is started, the better. For the treatment of caries in the spot stage, it is enough to carry out remineralization (restoration of a sufficient amount of mineral) with a special solution. With superficial, medium and deep caries, the carious cavity is treated with subsequent filling. With the deepest caries, medicinal pads containing calcium hydroxide are used, which contributes to the formation of "secondary" dentin, i.e. allows you to provide additional protection for the integrity of the nerve of the tooth.
Prevention of dental caries
So, caries occurs due to insufficiently thorough brushing of teeth, due to the use of sugar-containing food. The most wrong thing to do is to drink sweet tea with cookies before going to bed, after you have brushed your teeth. The bacteria of the oral cavity will be delighted with such an unexpected gift.
Prevention of caries consists, first of all, in proper nutrition, hygienic oral care, regular visits to the dentist. Proper oral hygiene includes 3-5 minutes of brushing teeth 2 times a day (after breakfast and after dinner), followed by the use of mouthwash. In addition, it is recommended to perform professional dental cleaning at the dentist 1-2 times a year. The dentist can also seal the fissures. Fissures are the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth, consisting of grooves and grooves, for this reason they are poorly cleaned and are most susceptible to caries. These grooves are filled with a special sealing material, as a result of which the chewing surface of the tooth becomes smoother and protected from caries.