Dental caries


Know the basics

What are dental carries?

Dental carries, also referred to as tooth decay, cavities are holes in the teeth. This is a result of bacterial action. Dental carries and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems.¬†If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss.

How common are dental carries?

This health condition is extremely common. It commonly affects more children, teenagers, and older adults. It can affect patients at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of dental carries?

The common symptoms of dental carries are

  • Toothache;
  • Tooth sensitivity;
  • 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.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Fever;
  • Severe tooth pain;
  • Smelly mouth.

Know the causes

What causes dental carries?

Dental carries are the result of two primary factors: bacteria in the mouth and a high-sugar in your food. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing. The combination of bacteria, food pieces and saliva is the formation of plaque. The higher sugar in food, the sticker is the plaque. Come with time, tooth decay form when bacteria in plaque and tartar convert sugar into acid. The acids in plaque remove minerals in your tooth’s hard, outer enamel. This erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for dental carries?

There are many risk factors for dental carries, such as:

  • Poor tooth care. If you do not brush or floss your teeth every day or clean your teeth well enough to remove plaque.
  • Certain carbohydrates, including fruit drinks, regular soda, desserts, hard candy, and cookies, can cause dental caries.
  • Acidic foods and drinks increase¬†your risk for dental caries. This includes lemons, regular and diet sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juice.
  • Gastric reflux. This causes stomach acid to come in contact with teeth, which may cause dental caries.
  • Not enough fluoride. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage.
  • Too little saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps clear food bits from your teeth and decrease the bacteria in your mouth that cause decay.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How are dental carries diagnosed?

To diagnose dental carries, your dentist will:

  • Ask some questions about medical history, the intensity of pain.
  • Use a pointed tool and a small mirror to examine your teeth.
  • Look at dental X-rays, which can show the extent of cavities and decay.

How are dental carries treated?

Treatment of dental carries depends on how severe they are and your particular situation. Treatment options include:

  • Fluoride treatments.This treatment is used in the getting started, a fluoride treatment may help restore your tooth’s enamel.
  • Fillings, sometimes called restorations, are the main treatment option when decay has progressed beyond the earliest enamel-erosion stage.
  • If you have extensive decay or weakened teeth, you may need a crown.
  • Root canals.When decay reaches the inner material of your tooth (pulp), you may need a root canal.
  • Tooth extractions.Your teeth must be removed due to the so severely decayed condition.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage dental carries?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with dental carries:

  • Brush your teeth at least 2 times a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Use dental floss to clean between your teeth at least once a day.
  • Rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after meals and snacks.
  • Eat tooth-healthy foods.
  • See your dentist regularly for dental cleanings and oral exams.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: October 6, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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