This may be a phrase you’ve never heard before – dental caries. Don’t be alarmed, this isn’t a new disease that was just discovered! Dental caries is another name for tooth decay or cavities, or the breakdown of teeth due to acids made by bacteria.
Most folks have heard of cavities before; they’re most often caused by poor dental hygiene after eating and drinking foods and beverages high in sugar or that tend to get stuck between your teeth. Of course, with tooth decay comes a way to prevent it, and that’s what were here to discuss today! Tooth decay is extremely preventable; even if you’ve had dental caries in the past, you can still protect your teeth from further damage today.
What Can Cause Dental Caries?
Dental caries is almost always caused by the consumption of sugary snacks and drinks with improper oral hygiene afterward. The sugar reacts with the bacteria already present in our dental biofilm (also known as plaque) to create an acid, which then eats away at the enamel (the hard, shiny white layer that we see on our teeth) and into the softer pulp beneath, which makes up the protective layer around the nerves in the root of the tooth.
The exposure of these nerves is what causes the tooth sensitivity that has become widely recognized as a sign of dental caries. The fancy word for the enamel loss we experience is called demineralization since the acid literally erodes calcium and phosphate from the enamel, which gives it the hard texture we recognize.
If your dentist discovers cavities caused by dental caries, the first course of action is generally to drill out the decay and put in a filling, usually comprised of composite materials (holistic dentists are committed to using biocompatible materials, meaning that the materials will not react with your body’s organic functions).
In some cases, a crown may be necessary to completely block the tooth from food or drinks that may cause tooth sensitivity. Extreme cases may see the tooth being extracted altogether to prevent further infection.
Before dental caries reaches that point, it is important to maintain strong oral hygiene habits. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day will greatly reduce your risk of dental caries, as well as regular visits to your dentist. Our team at Susquehanna Dental Arts is committed to promoting your dental hygiene and helping you prevent dental caries, or restore your oral health after experiencing dental caries. Give us a call today at 717-684-3943 to make your appointment!