Dental Caries is one of the most common oral health diseases. Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities. It is a breakdown of teeth due to acids made by bacteria. The cavities may be a number of different colors from yellow to black. Symptoms may include pain and difficulty with eating.
Dental caries can occur at any stage and age of life. It mainly occurs due to unhealthy eating and not taking due care of one’s teeth (like brushing twice or gargling after alcohol consumption or smoking etc). The prominent symptoms of dental caries include:
The signs and symptoms of cavities vary, depending on their extent and location. When a cavity is just beginning, you may not have any symptoms at all. As the decay gets larger, it may cause signs and symptoms such as:
A toothache, spontaneous pain or pain that occurs without any apparent cause
Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold
Visible holes or pits in your teeth
Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth
Pain when you bite down
Cause Of Dental caries
Dental caries is caused by the action of acids on the enamel surface. The acid is produced when sugars (mainly sucrose) in foods or drinks react with bacteria present in the dental biofilm (plaque) on the tooth surface. The acid produced leads to a loss of calcium and phosphate from the enamel; this process is called demineralization.
Role Of Saliva
Saliva acts to dilute and neutralize the acid which causes demineralization and is an important natural defense against caries. Aside from buffering plaque acids and halting the demineralization of enamel, saliva provides a reservoir of minerals adjacent to the enamel from which it can remineralize and “heal” once the acids have been neutralized. The enamel demineralizes and remineralizes many times during the course of a day. It is when this balance is upset and demineralization exceeds remineralization that caries progresses. When demineralization occurs frequently and exceeds remineralization over many months, there is a breakdown of the enamel surface leading to a cavity. Cavities, even in children who do not yet have their permanent teeth, can have serious and lasting complications such as pain, tooth abscess, tooth loss, broken teeth, chewing problems, and serious infection.
The main treatment option for a tooth cavity is to drill out the decay and put in a filling (restoration) made from various materials (e.g., composite resins, amalgam, porcelain). Extensive tooth decay may necessitate a crown, root canal treatment or even extraction of the tooth.
When to see a dentist
You may not be aware that a cavity is forming. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, even when your mouth feels fine. However, if you experience a toothache or mouth pain, see your dentist as soon as possible.