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How to Treat and Prevent Cavities

Oral Health: How to Treat and Prevent Cavities


Cavities are not only a well known dental disease but also the most common. It occurs in more than 90% of all people at least once in their life

How Do Cavities Develop?

This disease is a process in which plaque accumulates on the surface of the teeth. The bacteria in these deposits attack the enamel and dentin. The protective dental substance degrades, giving way to structural damage to the dental surface. If cavities are not treated in time, it not only damages the affected tooth, it can also cause other effects on oral health.
Bacterial proliferation is generally associated with 2 major factors: Excessive consumption of drinks and foods with a high sugar content (the perfect food for bacteria in the oral cavity), and poor dental care.[1]
Another factor to consider is the dental distribution of each person, which results in different bite patterns, some more prone to the accumulation of food debris on the teeth.

What are the Symptoms of Tooth Decay?

The tooth surface consists of dental enamel. There are no nerves in it, so the decay of the tooth by bacterial acid does not initially cause pain. Before actual tooth decay develops, the acid "decalcifies" the tooth surface. This manifests itself in white spots or discoloration on the teeth. The outermost surface initially remains intact.


If the cavities have been around for a long time, the white spots turn brown due to the buildup of bacteria and acid. If the cavities affect the dental structure (dentin) that is below the enamel, dental pain occurs, because there are projections of nerve fibers in the dentin. In dentin, caries can spread much faster, until it reaches the dental nerve, that is, the dental pulp.
The inflammation usually causes severe pain. This stage is called deep cavities and, in many cases, requires a root canal treatment, that is, the extraction of the pulp. [2]

How Are Cavities Treated?

Cavities treatment depends on the stage of the disease. One of the first steps in therapy is the removal of dental plaque by the dentist. If caries has already penetrated the dentin, it must be removed. In this case, the hole is closed with a filler, commonly a resistant ionomer-based resin.[3]

How Can You Protect Your Teeth From Cavities?

Reduce the consumption of sugary and acidic drinks, especially before going to sleep. If you ingest them, try to brush them afterward. With children, experts recommend avoiding this type of food to reduce the weakening of tooth enamel.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, more thoroughly before bed. Use proper technique, this ensures effective removal of bacterial biofilm.

Use dental floss and interdental brushes to remove plaque between teeth and along the gum line.

Make sure your teeth are regularly fluoridated. Toothpaste containing fluoride is sufficient for this. If there is a particular risk, fluoride gels can also be used, this will be determined by the dentist.

Regular visits to the dentist serve to control dental health, preventing the progression of cavities, therefore, between 1 and 2 annual visits are recommended. In the case of children, dental control is important to prevent long-term dental problems during childhood.[4]





References
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279514/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551699/
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10946-cavities#:~:text=Cavities%20form%20when%20acids%20in,(sometimes%20called%20dental%20caries).
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24308392/

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