Caries: causes, symptoms and treatment

Caries: causes, symptoms and treatment

Caries is the most common chronic disease worldwide. In 2015 were noisy "The Lancet Global Burden of Disease Study" 2.3 billion people affected worldwide. Caries can cause immense damage to our teeth, which can result in high costs. The statutory health insurance only partially covers the costs.

What is tooth decay?

The term caries goes back to the Latin word "caries", which means "rottenness" or "rot". This means the destructive disease of a tooth, which is caused by microorganisms. Caries is contagious and causes severe pain for those affected. The infection can destroy the enamel, the hardest material in the human body.

How does caries develop?

First, plaque is created. This is a thin layer on the tooth, which consists of bacteria found in the mouth. These bacteria in turn process carbohydrates, for example sugar, from our food into acid, which reacts with minerals like calcium in the tooth enamel. The minerals come out and a hole is created in the tooth. In the event of further destruction, the damage passes to the dentin under the enamel. The dentin is traversed by small blood vessels and nerves, which causes pain when damaged.

Thorough oral and dental care is essential to prevent and contain tooth decay. This also includes professional tooth cleaning, which should be carried out twice a year. With the DFV-ZahnSchutz you never have to bear the costs of the PZR again. Our test winner pays up to € 200 a year for your prophylaxis!

Symptoms and caries treatment in the early stage

Whitish to brownish discoloration on the teeth are the first signs of tooth decay that should be treated. The formation of initial caries begins with the release of the minerals from the tooth enamel. With fluoride and good oral hygiene, progress can still be counteracted at this point.

Symptoms and caries treatment in the advanced stage

If the tooth is yellow to brown, enamel caries is already present and the surface is attacked by bacteria to such an extent that a hole is created. Dentists speak of dentine caries when the hole reaches the dentine. The teeth are sensitive to pain when it is cold, sweet or hot. The caries must be removed from the damaged area and the tooth closed with an amalgam or plastic filling.

Symptoms and caries treatment for deep dental caries

The last phase is called deep dental caries. The destruction of the tooth has penetrated into the pulp. This causes severe, persistent pain, parts of the tooth can break off or an abscess develops at the root. In the best case, treatment by drilling and then filling is sufficient. In worse cases, for example, a root canal treatment or a dental implant may be necessary or the tooth may even be lost.

Prophylaxis for caries

The German Working Group for Dentistry speaks of the four pillars of caries prophylaxis. This is a tooth-healthy diet with low consumption of sugar and acids, conscientious and regular dental care, the use of strengthening fluorides in the toothpaste, and dental care through regular checks. In addition, professional tooth cleaning is recommended. These pillars help combat the causes of tooth decay.

Dental chewing gum

Dental care chewing gums are not a replacement for brushing your teeth, but they are a practical solution for on the go. This means that sugar-free dental care chewing gums help against acids after eating that help caries release minerals from the tooth enamel. In addition, the flow of saliva increases, which in turn favors self-regulation in the mouth. However, chewing gum cannot remove plaque, which is the breeding ground for bacteria. Only the toothbrush can do that.

Toothbrush: manual or electric?

Manual brushing of teeth can be sufficient, given the care and additional care between the teeth. However, comparative studies show that the electric toothbrush gives a better result due to the higher brushing movement. With sonic toothbrushes, the pressure exerted on the teeth is reduced by a high frequency. This makes cleaning more gentle and gentle. The disadvantage is the price: it is around 150 to 200 euros for a very good device.

fluorine >Fluorides can support dental care daily through toothpaste and weekly fluoride gel. Mouthwash should only be used as often as indicated on the bottle. There is also fluoridated table salt for the preparation of food. Since tooth decay can occur in childhood, there are fluoride tablets even for babies. The dentist applies fluoride varnishes if necessary.

Caries in children / milk teeth

If the children’s milk teeth are already affected by caries, the caries can also spread to the second teeth. Milk teeth are softer than the second teeth and children also consume significantly more sugar through their food. This creates conditions for tooth decay. That is why dental care is important from the first tooth. Caries can also be transmitted from the parents to the child, for example if the pacifier or spoon is licked.

Caries is contagious?

Yes, tooth decay is contagious. When kissing, however, the risk is lower, because caries bacteria are transmitted via the saliva, but healthy, well-groomed teeth can handle it. And kissing with healthy breath and well-groomed teeth is not really fun?

Due to the widespread prevalence of tooth decay is no reason to be ashamed, but take the signs such as bad breath and teeth sensitive to pain seriously and see your dentist. Because without doing anything, it will unfortunately not get better, only worse and more expensive. To prevent tooth decay, for example, the dental supplement insurance of the DFV covers the additional costs of professional tooth cleaning. And if you fear more work for the dentist and higher additional costs, we will be happy to advise you on a corresponding tariff model.

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Christina Cherry
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