Caries – causes, symptoms, stages – treatment


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Caries is that most common tooth disease in the industrialized countries. The term caries is derived from the Latin expression caries and means Putrefaction or rottenness. Dental caries (Caries dentium) is one contagious infection, that can be transferred from one person to another.

Overview of this article

Definition and stages of caries

There are different stages of tooth decay:

  • in the Initial stage (stage 1) there are no or only slight symptoms. The tooth can have white spots on the affected areas, too "chalk smudges" called, have. These stains result from the fact that the tooth enamel loses minerals.
  • in the second stage Bacteria penetrate the dentin (dentine) and multiply there. At this stage, there is often pain due to holes in the tooth.
  • in the third stage The caries spreads to the tooth pulp (nerve tissue), causing severe toothache.
  • Without treatment, the caries attacks in the fourth stage finally the tissue around the tooth. An extremely painful tooth abscess can form and ultimately lead to the tooth falling out.

Causes and development of caries

Several factors are involved in the development of tooth decay. The two main risk factors, that favor caries are

  • poor nutrition and
  • a lack of dental care.

With tooth decay acids attack the tooth surface on. The acids are produced by bacteria in the plaque. The Dental plaque, forms more if the teeth are not properly brushed. Plaque consists of food residues, saliva and bacteria. The bacteria convert sugar from sugary food into acids.

A sugary diet promotes the formation of holes in the teeth, because sugar is the main component of today’s food. Beyond that starchy and acidic foods Causes of tooth decay.

Symptoms and diagnosis of tooth decay

The typical first signs of caries beginning are white or brown spots on the teeth. If the disease has affected the dentine, kick toothache on. The further tooth decay progresses, the more and more regularly sufferers suffer from toothache. The Teeth are also very sensitive compared to hot, cold, sweet or sour dishes. There are often unpleasant things halitosis.

The dentist can usually have tooth decay diagnose with the naked eye. A regular visit to the dentist is essential in order to detect tooth decay in the early stages. Usually one X-ray carried out. The dentist can use the x-ray to see how far tooth destruction has progressed and whether the surrounding tissue has become inflamed.

Consequences of tooth decay

Untreated tooth decay can have far-reaching consequences for general health. A lack of dental hygiene and diseases of the teeth and gums can do that Weaken the immune system. A damaged tooth sends Toxins in the body, so the immune system has to be permanently active. The immune system is weakened. Kick frequently Symptoms of fatigue and weakness and the performance is reduced.

Inflammation in the mouth can also various diseases such as allergies, rheumatism, lung and heart diseases and diabetes promote. The reason for this is that the bacteria migrate from the mouth to the entire body. For example, the bacteria can affect the heart and lungs. This can increase the risk of a heart attack, especially in people with pre-existing heart damage.

Treatment of tooth decay

The treatment of tooth decay is depending on the stage of the disease. With caries in the early stages can preparations containing fluoride are used to harden and remineralize the enamel. The dentist often prescribes a fluoride toothpaste, which is usually used once a week.

If the tooth decay has already reached the dentine and caused a hole, the administration of fluoride is no longer sufficient. The destroyed tooth structure must from the dentist away become. This happens through the Drill out the affected area. The dentist then inserts a filling. For the fillings Various materials such as plastic, ceramic, metal alloys or amalgam are available.

If the caries has not yet penetrated too deeply and there are no large holes, a modern treatment procedure without drilling is used. The procedure will caries infiltration called. A liquid plastic is filled into the tiny cavities. The plastic hardens and blocks the further paths for the acids. The new procedures is a major advance in dentistry and a relief especially for anxious patients.

Prevention of tooth decay

Dental caries can be effectively and easily prevented with various measures. Basic prevention is one adequate oral hygiene. The teeth should at least twice a day properly cleaned. Teeth should not be cleaned immediately after meals, but half an hour afterwards. As a supplement to Brush teeth mouthwashes can be used. Especially fromor bedtime thorough dental care is important.

Are suitable for spaces that are difficult to reach Dental floss or small interdental brushes very good. The correct cleaning technique can be clearly shown by the dentist. Children should learn early on how important dental health is and should be familiarized with thorough brushing. Dental care chewing gums without sugar stimulate the flow of saliva and thus inhibit the bacteria.

In addition to proper oral hygiene, one bends healthy teeth Caries before. Sugary foods should not be on the menu too often. Sugar and acidic drinks should also be consumed with caution and should not be kept in the mouth for too long. There are tooth-friendly sweets that contain sugar substitutes and are labeled with the tooth manikin. Adequate drinking (Water, unsweetened teas and juices) helps the To stimulate salivation. Ultimately it is regular check-up at the dentist (twice a year) another effective measure to prevent tooth decay. So there is no need for holes in the teeth.

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Christina Cherry
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