Dental caries, is known as tooth decay or a cavity.
It is one of the most prevalent chronic diseases of people worldwide; individuals are susceptible to this disease throughout their lifetime.It is a disease where bacterial processes change carbohydrate like sugar in food left on teeth to acid that demineralises hard tooth structure (enamel, dentin, and cementum). If demineralisation exceeds saliva and other remineralisation like from calcium, these tissues progressively break down, producing dental caries (cavities, holes in the teeth). The disease develops in both the crowns and roots of teeth, and it can arise in early childhood as an aggressive tooth decay that affects the primary teeth of infants and toddlers.
Risk factors leading to dental caries
It includes physical, biological, environmental, behavioural, and lifestyle-related factors such as high numbers of cariogenic bacteria, inadequate salivary flow, insufficient fluoride exposure, poor oral hygiene, inappropriate methods of feeding infants, and poverty.
* Reduced saliva : Saliva have a buffering capability to counterbalance the acidic environment created by certain foods , so reduced saliva is associated with increased caries.
* The use of tobacco may also increase the risk for caries formation.Some brands of smokeless tobacco contain high sugar content, increasing susceptibility to caries.
The approach to primary prevention should be based on common risk factors. Secondary prevention and treatment should focus on management of the caries process over time for individual patients, with a minimally invasive, tissue-preserving approach.
Complication of dental caries
Untreated dental caries can lead to pain, , infection, and tooth loss.
Cariology is the study of dental caries.
In general, there are two types of caries when separated by location: caries found on smooth surfaces and caries found in pits and fissures.