Caries, meet the enemy

Most people have had cavities at some point in their lives but do you know what they are and how can you prevent them? Today we explain the “secrets” of tooth decay so that you know the enemy better.

Dental caries is an infectious disease that causes the destruction of the tissues of the teeth. Its origin is in dental or bacterial plaque, an accumulation of bacteria and food debris that adheres to the surface of the teeth and gums. It is a soft, matt and yellowish white substance. If not removed in time, the plaque hardens and forms the so-called tartar, which can no longer be removed with a simple brushing.

Caries occurs when the bacteria present in the plaque produce acids that destroy the minerals in the tooth. The main bacteria responsible for this process are Streptococcus mutants and Lactobacillus acidophilus. The destruction first affects the enamel and then the dentin, finally reaching the tooth pulp.

The majority of caries appear in the molar and premolar teeth, since its irregular surface favors the accumulation of food debris. They also tend to form cavities between the teeth and near the gums.

The first symptom of tooth decay is the appearance of a spot on the tooth, which may be whitish or darker. When the decay progresses towards the dentin, the spot becomes grayish in appearance. Finally, the enamel breaks and the lesion becomes much more evident.

Other symptoms of cavities are sensitivity to cold and heat, bad taste in the mouth, bad breath and pain. When caries is not treated properly, a phlegm on can be produced.

Caries have several causes, but one of the most frequent is food. Some types of carbohydrates facilitate the demineralization of the tooth and the development of bacteria, while carbonated drinks contain acids that can erode the enamel.

Do you want to prevent cavities? The toothbrush is your best ally! Regular dental hygiene habits with a brush and a suitable toothpaste prevent the excessive accumulation of bacterial plaque and with it the formation of cavities. Although you should brush your teeth after every meal, remember that the most important brushing is before bedtime. Thus, the bacteria do not have time to accumulate during the night.