Conquer Dental Caries
We have all experienced tooth decay at some time or other in our lives. Dental caries or dental cavities occur when there is a disruption between the balance of demineralization and remineralisation with the former winning out. To make it more lucid one can say that: ‘Demineralization is the loss of mineral (calcium and phosphate) from the tooth as a result of attack by the acids ……whereas; remineralisation is the natural repair process that replaces some of the lost minerals’. Minerals that are replaced during remineralisation actually make the tooth stronger against acid than the original. The people who are most susceptible to tooth decay are as follows: 1) Young children (1 year and above) 2) Young adults 3) People with chronic illness 4) The elderly It has long been known that restoring the teeth does nothing to control and prevent tooth decay. Today the emphasis is on a prevention model moving away from a repair model. The first key factor in preventing caries is to perform a caries risk assessment on each individual, listing the personal factors involved in the oral cavity as well as the medical and dental history that can lead to cavities. The second key is to use improved techniques available for early diagnosis of initial carious lesions (cavities) and then to arrest or reverse such lesions designed to promote remineralisation or afford protection. Lesions that were once “observed” can now be accurately diagnosed and properly treated. Preventive strategies are planned after a thorough examination based on the individual needs rather than on any cookbook approach. The reason is that caries is a multifactorial disease which can originate from various factors such as diet, improper oral hygiene, susceptible tooth, bacterial activity, saliva etc. So, conquering dental caries is aimed at identifying and eliminating the risk factors which are responsible for the root cause. Common problems which should be provided immediate attention are : 1) Food impaction or lodgement 2) Gum bleeding and Halitosis (bad breath) 3) Teeth sensitivity 4) Discomfort during brushing, eating etc.
But folks, don’t you worry. Here is the good news that prevention is better than cure. Better still is the fact that there are a few different ways in which you can achieve this: Here are six quick steps:- 1) Proper Toothbrushing & Flossing 2) Diet modifications 3) Fluoride – Applied to prevent dental decay 4) Pit & fissure sealants – material that seals the tooth from decay 5) Use of mouth rinses 6) Regular visit to the dentist Fluoride is considered as the cornerstone for prevention of tooth decay which when applied to the teeth renders them more resistant to attack by acids produced by the bacteria thereby preventing smooth surface decay. It is available in various forms such as toothpastes, foams gels, mouth rinses and is very effective during the early stages of teeth development. Sealants are resin materials are applied on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth which forms a thin film.This coating prevents any soft deposits, bacteria to accumulate on the tooth surface thereby decreasing the chance for caries to conquer the tooth. Earlier the visit to dentist, less invasive is the treatment as well as the time spent on it. The cost benefit ratio for preventive care when compared to therapeutic care is about 1:16, thereby making the former one a wiser choice. Periodic recall check ups once in 6-12 months based on the individual needs should be maintained with utmost care so that any problem can be identified by the dentist at an early stage and treated appropriately. The important point to consider is that preventive strategies are more effective when combined with one another. The risk intervention protocol provides a guideline to help you design an individualized program for each patient. Starting early means healthy teeth and a healthy lifestyle for the future.