Tooth decayWhat is tooth caries?
Caries are the most widespread infectious disease. The worldwide occurrence of caries in early childhood is between 11-72%. Besides genetic factors, the occurrence of caries is also influenced by dental hygiene, dietary habits, and tooth structure. (Some specific factors include: deep teeth grooves, very uneven teeth surfaces, quality of hard dental tissue, tooth enamel, quality of saliva, immune response of the body, and taste preferences.) Caries are divided into several categories according to various criteria:
1. According to the affected location (caries of the enamel, dentine, or cementum),
2. According to the speed of progress (acute, chronic, or ceased). Typical caries manifest themselves by a painful sensation in the teeth, especially with cold and hot foods and sometimes also with sour and sweet foods
Life of the bacteria in our mouths
Between 200 and 300 types of bacteria live inside our mouths, and these live on the leftovers of food and excrete acidic substances, which dissolve tooth enamel. Therefore, these bacteria can attack the deeper layers of teeth.
Caries are linked to the risk of heart attack and cancer
An international team of scientists has discovered an interesting link. According to their findings, people who do not care for their teeth adequately are at a greater risk of cancer and heart attack than those who clean their teeth properly. Experts have found that people who have mouths full of caries, plaque and bacteria are more frequently affected by cancer and their risk of premature death is greater by 80%. This is another good reason for cleaning teeth thoroughly.
Development of tooth decay
The most common risk factors for the development of caries include: insufficient (incorrect or irregular) dental hygiene, quality of hard dental tissue and tooth structure, plaque and bacteria, frequent intake of simple sugars (sweets), drinking acidic and sweet beverages, reduced production of saliva and increased susceptibility to caries in the family, and inflammatory disease of the throat (gastroesophageal reflux disease), during which the acidic components of the stomach juices flow back into the mouth during sleep (regurgitation). All these factors degrade tooth structure and facilitate the formation of caries.
Life-long protection against caries
Are you one of the people who fears visiting a dentist? Scientists promise that the fear of caries and drilling teeth will soon be a thing of past. They have developed an inoculation substance that protects against caries. Children should receive the inoculation in an injection, and tablets preventing caries are being prepared for adults. So far, this is in the testing stage, but there are promising signs. The inoculation works well on laboratory rats, and testing on humans is currently under way. Scientists are promising that a single injection may protect us against caries for our whole life.