DENTAL CARIES : PREVENTION & TREATMENT
In the previous sections we have discussed about the causes , symptoms and mechanism of how dental caries work . You can read the articles here
DENTAL CARIES : INTRODUCTION & SYMPTOMS
DENTAL CARIES : CAUSES & ACTION
This part we will be discussing about the prevention of dental caries
The 1st step of preventing dental caries is practicing healthy oral habits .From earlier posts you now have an idea that tooth decay mostly happens due to accumulation of food particle in the oral cavity & the action of bacteria on the food that produces acid . This acid corrodes the outer covering of the tooth . By healthy oral habits you can prevent the formation of plaque . This will help a great deal in the prevention of dental caries .
Healthy Habits for Healthy Teeth
Most people know that brushing and flossing are important to prevent dental problems, but in this age of soda, coffee, sports drinks, chocolates , bottled water, people have become much more prone to dental caries .Most people drink bottled or filtered water — which does not contain tooth-strengthening fluoride — sip on soda, or grab a latte without brushing after.
All these habits can weaken teeth, and the sugar from beverages like soda, juice, and milk feed the bacteria in your mouth . As discussed above growth in bacteria results in production of more amount of acid allowing tooth decay to set in.
Some of the simple yet much needed oral habits are as follows :
Brush frequently. Once a day is not enough: Every morning and every night is the minimum to maintain healthy teeth and prevent dental problems. It’s even better to continually get rid of food particles that lead to tooth decay throughout the day. The key is to drink or eat your meals or snacks and then brush very soon after .
If that is not possible, rinse with water or chew a sugar-free gum to help reduce the plaque and lower the acidity of your mouth. You should also use toothpaste that contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth and protects them against decay.
One of the most common mistake that we all make ” Not brushing in the night before sleeping ” . It may not seem to be much of problem , but in reality it is . The food particles that stay in the mouth over night feed the bacteria .
Bacteria acts on the carbohydrate and produces acid . It also results in bad breath . This night product of acid while you are sleeping is the initiator of dental caries .
Its like : You may be sleeping , But the microbes in your mouth are always at work . So , its a must to brush at nights after dinner .
See this video to see the increase in the number of microbes in your mouth while you sleeping
So I guess you are now going to brush in the nights before sleeping . This will reduce the chances of dental caries a lot .
One more point to note is how to brush properly . Brushing might seem as a simple process . But it needs to be done properly . We will discuss about it in detail in another post . For now this picture will show graphically how the brushing should be done .
One more aspect of proper brushing is flossing . Flossing is done to remove the interdental food remains .
Floss daily. Though brushing is important, it’s not enough. Your toothbrush can’t get into those deep nooks and crannies in between your teeth, but dental floss can. Flossing at least once per day is necessary to get rid of the food particles hiding between your teeth and any plaque that has already formed.
Get regular dental checkups. See your dentist for a professional cleaning and checkup twice each year to keep teeth clean and healthy. Your dentist may also take X-rays of your teeth to look for early signs of tooth decay. A regular appointment for scaling & treatment of any cavities if present is a must . A regular visit to dentist before any problem comes up is much better than going to a dentist when you are in pain .
Cutting Down on Sugary Foods & Drinks. Sweet might be good for the taste buds for over intake of sweet is not good for your teeth. Sweet foods are rich in sucrose & carbohydrates that are perfect for the growth of bacteria . Bacteria grow on then , dissolve them and produce acid .This acid causes the loss of tooth structure .
TREATMENT OF DENTAL CARIES
Early dental caries is reversible. Mineral can be deposited back onto the tooth surface if you can modify your diet and oral hygiene. Your dentist can treat early areas of caries with topical fluoride, and if you are careful with your diet and cleaning no other treatment may be required.
Treatment of Initial Caries :
- Antiseptic mouthwash
- Flouride treatments:
- Protective barriers applied to the surface of the teeth
- Dental picks
- Oral irrigators:
- Warm saltwater mouth rinses
- Dental fillings
- Root canal
- Dental crown
- Dental extraction:
- Tooth removal