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Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, 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.
Four things are required for caries formation: a tooth surface (enamel or dentin), caries-causing bacteria, fermentable carbohydrates (such as sucrose), and time. This involves adherence of food to the teeth and acid creation by the bacteria that makes up the dental plaque. However, these four criteria are not always enough to cause the disease and a sheltered environment promoting development of a cariogenic biofilm is required. The caries disease process does not have an inevitable outcome, and different individuals will be susceptible to different degrees depending on the shape of their teeth, oral hygiene habits, and the buffering capacity of their saliva. Dental caries can occur on any surface of a tooth that is exposed to the oral cavity, but not the structures that are retained within the bone.
– The purpose of oral hygiene is to remove and prevent the formation of plaque or dental biofilm. A toothbrush can be used to remove plaque on accessible surfaces, but not between teeth or inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces. When used correctly, dental floss removes plaque from areas that could otherwise develop proximal caries but only if the depth of sulcus has not been compromised. Additional aids include interdental brushes, water picks, and mouthwashes. The use of rotational electric toothbrushes might reduce the risk of plaque and gingivitis.
– People who eat more free sugars get more cavities, with cavities increasing exponentially with increasing sugar intake. Populations with less sugar intake have fewer cavities.
In the presence of sugar and other carbohydrates, bacteria in the mouth produce acids that can demineralize enamel, dentin, and cementum. The more frequently teeth are exposed to this environment, the more likely dental caries is to occur. Therefore, minimizing snacking is recommended, since snacking creates a continuous supply of nutrition for acid-creating bacteria in the mouth.
Chewy and sticky foods (such as candy, cookies, potato chips, and crackers) tend to adhere to teeth longer. However, dried fruits such as raisins and fresh fruit such as apples and bananas disappear from the mouth quickly, and do not appear to be a risk factor.
Regular dental check up.
A regular dental check up is important because they help keep your teeth and gums healthy. You should have a regular dental visit at least every 6 months or as recommended by your dental professional. There are 2 parts to a regular dental visit – check up, or examination and the cleaning, or oral