What Is Caries?

Dental caries is mostly a function of lifestyle – diet, dental hygiene, fluoride in water and toothpaste. Heredity also plays a determining role. Children are usually more susceptible to cavities, but adults are not spared. There are several types and locations of cavities:

Coronary caries – the most common type in children and adults. They are found most often on the top (or bottom for the upper teeth) and between the teeth.

Root caries – With age, the gums can regress and expose, part of the tooth root. The lack of protective enamel promotes caries.

Caries recurrence – Caries can form around fillings and crowns: the plaque tends to accumulate in these areas and triggers the appearance of cavities.

Adults are more susceptible to cavities if they have dry mouth (lack of saliva). Dryness of the mouth can be caused by illness, medication, radiation therapy, chemotherapy; it can be permanent or temporary, depending on its etiology.

Cavities can have serious consequences. If decay is not treated, it can destroy the tooth and reach the nerve, which can lead to an abscess, a source of infection at the end of the root. Once an abscess develops, it can only be treated by devitalization, surgery, or tooth extraction.

How do I figure out if I have cavities?

Very often, only your dentist will be able to tell you if you have cavities because cavities start below the surface of the tooth, where you can not see them. The carbohydrates (sugar and starch) contained in foods are transformed by dental plaque into acids that attack the tooth. Gradually, the underlying part of the enamel and dentine are destroyed. When this destruction is sufficiently important, the enamel collapses forming a cavity, and the decay becomes visible to the naked eye.

In most cases, caries develops in the grooves of the chewing surfaces of the posterior teeth, between the teeth, and near the gumline (collar). But no matter where they are, the best way to find and treat them before they get worse is to check with your dentist regularly.

How to avoid cavities?

By brushing your teeth at least twice a day and using floss every day to remove the plaque between the teeth and under the gumline.

By having you checked regularly. Preventive care can help stop attacks and prevent small problems from getting worse.

By following a balanced diet that limits the consumption of carbohydrates (sugars). When you consume this type of food, try to consume it with the meal instead of snacking throughout the day, thus decreasing the frequency of exposure of your teeth to acid attacks.

By using fluorine-based dental products, including toothpaste. Make sure the water drunk by your children is fluoridated. If the water supply in your home does not contain fluoride, your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe daily fluoride supplements.