What is dental caries? - GO.CARE Blog
What is dental caries?
Author: Chí Hùng
Review Date: August 6, 2018 | Last Modified: June 11, 2019
What is dental caries?

Know the basics

1. What are dental caries?

Dental caries, also referred to as tooth decay, cavities are holes in the teeth. This is a result of bacterial action. Dental caries and tooth decay are among the world’s most common health problems. If cavities aren’t treated, they get larger and affect deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to a severe toothache, infection, and tooth loss.

This health condition is extremely common. Commonly, dental caries affect more on children, teenagers, and older adults. It can affect patients at any age.However, this health condition can be managed by reducing your risk factors.

2. Symptoms

The common symptoms of dental caries are:

  • Toothache;
  • Tooth sensitivity;
  • Mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot or cold;
  • Visible holes or pits in your teeth;
  • Brown, black or white staining on any surface of a tooth;
  • Pain when you bite down.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Fever;
  • Severe tooth pain;
  • Smelly mouth.

Diagnosis & Treatments

1. How are dental caries diagnosed?

To diagnose dental caries, your dentist will:

  • Ask some questions about medical history, the intensity of pain.
  • Use a pointed tool and a small mirror to examine your teeth
  • Look at dental X-rays, which can show the extent of cavities and decay.

2. How are dental caries treated?

Treatment of dental caries depends on how severe they are and your particular situation. Treatment options include:

  • Fluoride treatments. This treatment is used in the getting started, a fluoride treatment may help restore your tooth’s enamel.
  • Fillings. Fillings, sometimes called restorations, are the main treatment option when decay has progressed beyond the earliest enamel-erosion stage.
  • Crowns. If you have extensive decay or weakened teeth, you may need a crown.
  • Root canals. When decay reaches the inner material of your tooth (pulp), you may need a root canal.
  • Tooth extractions. Your teeth must be removed due to the so severely decayed condition.

More information

1. Causes

Dental caries are the result of two primary factors: bacteria in the mouth and a high-sugar in your food. Having bacteria in your mouth is a normal thing.

The combination of bacteria, food pieces and saliva is the formation of plaque. The higher sugar in food, the sticker is plaque. Come with time, tooth decay form when bacteria in plaque and tartar convert sugar into acid. The acids in plaque remove minerals in your tooth’s hard, outer enamel. This erosion causes tiny openings or holes in the enamel.

2. Risk factors

There are many risk factors for dental caries, such as:

  • Poor tooth care. If you do not brush or floss your teeth every day or clean your teeth well enough to remove plaque.
  • Certain carbohydrates, including fruit drinks, regular soda, desserts, hard candy, and cookies, can cause dental caries.
  • Acidic foods and drinks increases your risk for dental caries. This includes lemons, regular and diet sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juice.
  • Gastric reflux. This causes stomach acid to come in contact with teeth, which may cause dental caries.
  • Not enough fluoride. Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities and can even reverse the earliest stages of tooth damage.
  • Too little saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps clear food bits from your teeth and decrease the bacteria in your mouth that cause decay.

Need further information? Contact GO.CARE manage team to get more details from expert doctors and medical specialists.

GO.CARE does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.