Dental Caries: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Dentists using intraoral 3D camera to create image for ceramic tooth reconstruction

Dental caries is one of the most common dental problems that many individuals have experienced in their lives. Some conditions could be minor. Others, however, experienced a much more serious problem due to the condition. While there are many solutions like dental implants that can assist even the most severe of cases, as with many medical and dental conditions prevention and early detection are key.

How would you know if you have dental caries? And if you do, what are the treatments available? Is it preventable?

  • What Is Dental Caries

Dental caries is also known as cavities or tooth decay. Almost all people have experienced having dental caries or cavities once or twice in their lives. While the condition is preventable, it has become a very common problem due to several reasons.

As it happens, when you eat certain foods that are normally harmful to your teeth, the bacteria left on the tooth breaks the properties down and produces acids. These acids can damage the enamel and even the tissues of the tooth. As a result, cavities or caries is formed.

Symptoms of Dental Caries

When you have dental caries or cavities, you would easily know since it has physical effects that can even affect your day-to-day living. But, to be more specific, these are the symptoms of dental caries:

    • Holes in the surface of a tooth

    • Pain when chewing

    • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks

    • Toothache

When you have cavities, you will experience one or all of these things. This is because the formation of dental caries has already disrupted the surface of your tooth, which then makes it vulnerable causing all the sensitivity, pain, and chips or holes.

If you are not certain if you have dental caries, you may want to check with your dentist. Aside from the diagnosis, these professionals will also recommend you the right things to do to ease, prevent spread, and treat the condition.

  • Causes of Dental Caries

There are tons of causes of dental caries. But, among all, these are the most apparent:

    • Too much sugary, acidic consumptions

Sugar-rich foods like candies and chocolates have certain bacteria that when left on the surface or in between teeth will cause cavities due to the acid that the bacteria produce. The same is also for acidic foods and drinks.

    • Poor oral, dental hygiene

If you do not practice and maintain good oral and dental hygiene, the likelihood of the presence of dental caries or cavities is much more apparent. Keep in mind, you always eat and drink, and these consumptions have bacteria that cause the cavities.

    • Insufficient fluoride

Fluoride can reverse the early effects of cavity-causing bacteria. In short, having enough presence of fluoride in your daily lifestyle can prevent dental caries. So, when you lack this, you do not have security to fight off dental caries.

    • Dry mouth

Dry mouth only means that you need hydration. In short, you do not drink enough water. When this happens, the bacteria that causes dental caries only strengthens, which then further deteriorates the condition.

Dental Caries Treatments

Fortunately, and thanks to today’s technology, treatments are now available to resolve dental caries. There are four common treatments that are given by dental professionals:

    • Tooth Fillings

Tooth fillings or “pasta” is the most common treatment of all. This is only applicable when dental caries are detected early. So, this works by filling the holes created by the cavities with the right materials.

    • Root Canal

A root canal is likely the final option for treatment if not aiming for an extraction. When the condition is already severe that it already affected the nerve in the center of the tooth, your dental professional may deploy this treatment. After removing the dead nerve, a crown will be placed to seal the hole.

    • Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are also another common treatment for dental caries. This is recommended by professionals when large portions of the tooth are already destroyed.

    • Extraction

If the cavities formed is already severe and no longer treatable, extraction of the tooth or teeth will be advised to stop the further spread of the bacteria.

    • Herbal, Natural Remedies

Natural and herbal remedies can be also used as treatments for dental caries. These may include the usage of fluoride toothpaste, oil pulling, licorice root, and proper dental hygiene.

However, this may only be applicable during the very early stages of the condition.

  • Prevention

When preventing dental caries, the best thing that you can do is to keep your mouth and teeth healthy. And the best way to do that is to have excellent dental and oral hygiene. The regime must include proper brushing of teeth, flossing, oil pulling, usage of mouthwash, and regular dental check-ups.

Also, you may want to be very mindful of the foods and drinks that you consume. As much as possible, cut-off the sugary and acidic foods and beverages as these are the ones that mainly cause dental caries.

  • Conclusion

In totality, dental caries may be a common and treatable dental condition. But, keep in mind that preventive dentistry is still the best cure that you can give to yourself. So, despite the availability of treatments like dental implants and other solutions, make sure to observe proper oral and dental hygiene as dental caries may lead to more serious problems that you will certainly regret in the long run.

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