Dental caries and their impact on oral health
Tooth decay, also known as cavities or fillings, is one of the most common oral health problems faced by people of all ages. These are damage to the tooth enamel caused by the acids produced by the bacteria present in our mouth. Cavities can have a significant impact on dental health and, in some cases, overall health.
Causes of tooth decay:
Tooth decay develops when bacteria in the mouth break down sugars and carbohydrates in food and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. The main causes of tooth decay include:
Poor diet: Frequent consumption of foods and drinks rich in sugar or carbohydrates can increase the production of acids that attack enamel.
Poor oral hygiene: Poor oral hygiene, which includes irregular brushing or improper flossing, can allow bacteria to build up and multiply in the mouth.
Fluoride deficiency: Fluoride is an essential mineral for strengthening tooth enamel. Lack of fluoride in drinking water or toothpaste can increase the risk of tooth decay.
Symptoms of tooth decay:
Caries may be asymptomatic in the early stages, but as it progresses, the following symptoms may appear:
Tooth sensitivity to cold, hot or sweet foods or drinks.
Tooth pain or discomfort: When decay affects the nerve inside the tooth, it can cause severe pain.
Discoloration or white spots on tooth enamel: These may indicate enamel demineralization.
The impact of dental caries:
Tooth decay can have a significant impact on oral and general health:
Tooth loss: Untreated tooth decay can lead to severe tooth damage and eventual tooth loss.
Pain and discomfort: Advanced cavities can cause intense pain, difficulty chewing and speaking.
Infections: Tooth decay can lead to tooth or gum infections, which may require emergency treatment.
Impact on general health: There are links between oral and general health, so untreated cavities can have a negative impact on the cardiovascular system and worsen conditions such as diabetes.
Prevention and treatment of dental caries:
Preventing tooth decay is essential and can be achieved by:
Proper oral hygiene: Regular brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing and gargling with antibacterial mouthwash.
Balanced diet: Limiting consumption of foods and drinks high in sugar or carbohydrates.
Regular visits to the dentist: See the dentist at least once every six months for a professional cleaning and to detect cavities in the early stages.
The treatment of tooth decay consists of removing the affected tissue and replacing it with filling materials. In more severe cases, dental fillings or crowns may be needed.
Dental cavities are a common oral health problem that can have a significant impact on your dental and overall health. Through proper oral hygiene, a balanced diet and regular visits to the dentist, we can prevent cavities and maintain a healthy and bright smile.
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