DENTAL CARIES : CAUSES
Latest posts by Deb (see all)
In the last part we discussed the basic introduction about dental caries , signs & symptoms . You can read the 1st part here by clicking DENTAL CARIES PART 1 INTRODUCTION & SYMPTOMS
In this part we will be discussing about causes of dental caries & treatment options
Lets Have a Quick look on How Cavities are formed once again
Tooth Consists of 3 major parts : ENAMEL , DENTIN , PULP
ENAMEL : OUTER MOST PART WHICH GETS ATTACKED BY CARIES
Once the enamel is demineralized , caries spread to more sensitive Dentine & then to the Pulp that induces pain .
Many factors together are responsible for the spread of caries .
From the above flowchart it is clear that Two main factors contribute to tooth decay — bacteria and a diet high in sugar and starch.
The mouth is colonized by 200 to 300 bacterial species, but only a limited number of these species participate in dental decay (caries) or periodontal disease.
These particular bacterias have high affinity for starch & sugar . These bacteria combine with food and saliva to form a sticky substance called plaque that attaches to teeth. Plaque is sticky and sticks to the tooth if not removed by regular brushing .
The bacteria ferments the starch to produce acids that dissolve the tooth structure . Dental decay is due to the irreversible solubilization of tooth mineral by acid produced by certain bacteria that adhere to the tooth surface in bacterial communities known as dental plaque.
Bacteria Responsible :
Streptococcus mutans is the main cause of dental decay. Various lactobacilli are associated with progression of the lesion.
Even after brushing there is a constant increase in the number of bacteria in the oral cavity . Have a look at this video that shows the increase in the bacteria in the oral cavity after brushing . So now you know that you need to take care of oral hygiene, so that the harmful caries causing microbes don’t increase in number.
Action of Acid on Tooth
CAUSES / RISK FACTORS OF DENTAL CARIES
The biggest cause of tooth decay is the combined effect of bacteria + food + plaque + acid as stated in the picture above .
- Poor brushing
- Not flossing
- Waiting more than 20 minutes to brush after eating
- Drinking less sugary beverages over a longer period of time
- Not using MouthwashesRegularly
- Not brushing the teeth before sleeping in night
- DRY MOUTH ( decreased production of saliva )
Food Habits that bring higher risks of causing tooth decay:
Obvious/well known tooth decay causes:
- Candy/sweets. Candy is a key offender!
- Fizzy drinks and fruit juices
- Ice cream
Less well-known causes of cavities (the sneaks):
- Potato chips/crisps
- Breakfast cereals
Read the next part of the article on Dental Caries here :