A beautiful smile is always something to remember. Teeth are among the most important elements of the body, as they participate in the process of chewing and speaking. Dental carries is the most common disease of the oral cavity, affecting both health and beauty. What exactly is dental caries and how can we protect the teeth from this invisible enemy?
The structure of the teeth
Teeth consist mainly of inorganic salts and, to a lesser extent, of organic substances. Their structure has many layers. On their exterior, there is the enamel, which is the first and external defense of the teeth. Under enamel there is the dentine, then the ostein which surrounds the roots, and finally the pulp, located in the pulp cavity.
Caries, the tooth enemy
Tooth decay or caries is the damage of tooth structure due to microbial overgrowth (cariogenic microorganisms). It can appear throughout life, even in the early teeth and is due to the action of microorganisms that normally exist and colonize the oral cavity.
Cause of dental decay
The microbes that naturally exist in the mouth, create a microbial dental plaque which is located on the tooth surfaces. When the oral hygiene rules are not followed and the teeth are not brushed properly, then bacterias overgrow. Bacterias break down carbohydrates and sugars of the food we consume. As a result, acids are produced which reduce the pH of the mouth and destroy tooth enamel.
If the dental plaque is not systematically removed, bacterias continue to produce more acids, resulting in the destruction of the tooth, eventually. Gradually, the tooth becomes sensitive and there is pain, while also there may be infections and inflammation.
The role of nutrition
A diet rich in carbohydrates and sugars feeds the mouth microorganisms. Fermentation of sugars leads to acid production, which starts only within in the first 5 to 10 minutes and the pH of the mouth begins to fall. Foods rich in sugar and carbs like glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose, starch and complex carbohydrates can cause tooth decay. Saliva can protect teeth thanks to the antimicrobial substances it contains, such as lysozyme, which regulate the pH of the mouth, protect against the occurrence of lesions, neutralizing the acids and protecting the teeth.
Treatment and prevention of caries
Remove dental plaque
Daily brushing of the teeth is recommended, at least twice a day and especially after each meal. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes help in removing dental plaque more effectively. In addition to brushing, it is also very important to use oral solution and dental floss, which help to remove food and microbial residues between the teeth.
Fluoride oral solution and toothpaste
It is recommended toothpaste and mouthwashes to contain fluoride as they offer an additional tooth protection shield. In particular, fluoride prevents the destruction of the enamel by acting against caries.
The high consumption of carbohydrates and sweets not followed by tooth brushing, over the years will lead to tooth decay. It is recommended to restrict foods containing simple sugars as well as highly acidic foods which also cause damage to the teeth. It is preferable to use sweeteners which are not degraded by the bacteria and thus do not cause damage.