Tooth decay is a widely treated disease that affects many Canadians. Also known as dental caries, it is an infectious disease process that causes damage to the structure of teeth. Ignored, it can lead to devastating tooth loss, pain, and in some cases, death. In practices like this Orleans Dental Clinic in Canada, dentists are working to prevent patients from experiencing tooth decay.
This article will discuss one of the world’s oldest and most widespread diseases and give you ways to beat it.
Oral diseases cause pain and disability for millions of Canadians each year, but shockingly, it’s highly preventable. Dental decay is a global epidemic and is especially prevalent in young children. The onset of the disease begins early, at ages two to fifteen. Low-income children are more susceptible as they usually do not have the resources to get the proper care. While tooth decay is a disease of the mouth, it affects children socially as well. School absences, weight loss, and mouth distortions are all part of the disease if left untreated. Tooth decay is also an issue for adults, affecting more than ninety percent over age forty.
The mouth contains bacteria called microbiome, living organisms that continually interact with other elements within the mouth. Some of these bacteria could be the sort that causes tooth decay, which is why brushing, and yearly cleanings are so vital. The teeth are composed of an external covering of enamel (the hardest substance in the human body) and an inner core of living dentin, which is similar in structure to bone. Enamel is highly mineralized and composed mainly of calcium and phosphate. Teeth are kept healthy in part by saliva, which coat the teeth daily. Yet it also maintains a neutral environment in the mouth between acids and bases. This keeps the teeth from disintegrating and helps prevent cavities.
Risk Factors and Prevention
Every patient’s risk factor for developing tooth decay is different, and further complicated by the dynamics and changes to things like diet, salivary flow, and hygiene. It is vital to assess the degree of risk, and your dentist can help you do that more precisely.
Prevention from tooth decay does not simply mean brushing and flossing. Besides yearly cleaning, your dentist may recommend additional steps, depending on your risk factors. They might recommend products that specifically manage your risk level like special toothpaste, rinses, or sealants. These strategies are designed to balance the protective side and minimize or eliminate the pathogenic side. Prevention must be strategic, and the strategy must be followed.
One of the most effective preventions is applying fluoride topically to the crystalline structure just after the teeth erupt into the mouth. Research shows that low doses of fluoride are safe and effective against decay. Sealants, too, are successful and are a companion treatment to fluoride. Your dentist can apply a simple test to identify acid-producing bacteria which will help eliminate the destructive bugs.
Tooth decay can do destructive damage to teeth and affect your overall health, yet it is preventable using the right strategy. Your local dentist will guide you through the best course to take to avoid it for a lifetime.