Dental caries is one of the most common forms of oral health problems people face. The process of getting tooth caries is known as tooth decay. Dental caries or cavities are caused by the erosion of tooth enamel by the acids present in the mouth. The bacteria get deposited on the surface of the teeth. A cavity can be caused anywhere on the tooth which is exposed to plaque and acid.
There are different types of dental carries including enamel carries, dentin carries, reversible carries, pit and fissure, smooth surface, acute dental caries, early childhood caries, primary and secondary carries.
Also read: What is the Treatment for Tooth Decay?
Effect of cavities on enamel is due to chemical process caused by the acidic environment produced by bacteria. The bacteria consume the sugar content of the food eaten to get energy. While doing so, they also produce lactic acid. This acid results in the demineralisation of crystals in the enamel. The damage is continuously caused until the bacteria physically penetrate the dentin.
The common locations of occurrence of secondary caries are the edges of restorations and fracture places in the mouth. This type of caries can result from an inappropriate adjustment of a restoration or inadequate restoration extension. For a complete treatment of secondary caries, there has to be complete removal of the original lesion, which may later appear as recurrent caries.
Acute caries is a rapid process, which affects a large number of teeth. Lesions of acute caries are light brown or grey than the lesions caused by other types of caries. The caseous consistency of acute caries makes the excavation of the infected teeth difficult. Common effects seen in patients of acute caries are pulp exposure and sensitive teeth.
Caries that becomes static without showing any tendency to progress further is called arrested caries. With the improvement of oral hygiene, even advanced lesions may be arrested. One can note arrested caries by dark pigmentation without any breakdown of tooth tissues.
Also known as baby bottle tooth decay, early childhood caries occurs in young children. It occurs when a baby is fed with a milk bottle at bedtime and a few drops of milk remain in the mouth for a long time resulting in tooth decay. This type of dental caries causes yellowing of the teeth, inflammation of the gums and excessive pain in the teeth causing difficulty in eating, speaking and sleeping. Usually, two the upper front teeth are affected. To avoid early childhood caries, night-time breastfeeding and bottle-feeding should be avoided once the first baby teeth begin to appear.
If dental caries is left untreated, it could cause extreme pain and mouth infection ultimately leading to excavation of the infected teeth. To prevent different types of tooth decay, Brush your teeth at least twice per day, floss your teeth daily and avoid sugary foods and beverages. Visiting a dentist twice in a year is also a good idea.
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