Dental caries is the world's most common disease. In Germany, about 98% of the population is affected. As a rule, all teeth are born healthy - only lack of care and wrong eating habits cause caries. Wrong is the widespread opinion that tooth decay is inherited. Scientific research has shown that there is no gene that causes tooth decay. In contrast, studies on identical twins have proven that the sum of several hereditary factors definitely influences the susceptibility or the risk of tooth decay.
Caries in the initial stage is usually curable
There are different stages of tooth decay, as well as different types. Most curable is the so-called initial caries, also called white spot. It makes itself felt as a white chalk spot on the tooth. Here is an intensive oral hygiene and fluoridation indicated. The dentist observes this condition and does not yet have to initiate restorative therapy. If the decay progresses, the tooth turns yellowish-brownish. Once the caries has penetrated into the dentin, it quickly spreads to the tooth pulp. The holes in caries often look quite small from the outside, while they can be greatly expanded inside the tooth. If the toothpaste (pulp) is reached by the caries bacteria, not only it comes to pain, but it is possible that massive infections are triggered by the infection of the surrounding the root tip of the tooth bone. At the same time, bacteria thus enter the body via the bloodstream and can also trigger inflammatory effects on other organs. Scientific studies are increasingly showing connections between such dental diseases and cardiovascular problems.
Calcium plays an important role
Thankfully, our "oral cavity ecosystem" is set up for food or beverage disorders. However, whether these disorders lead to the development of carious lesions depends on the type of food as well as the ability of the ecosystem to compensate for these disorders. Various repair mechanisms are available to this ecosystem to remedy minor damage. For example, the amount of saliva and the content of eg calcium play an important role. If there is enough time between two acid attacks, calcium can be rebuilt from the saliva into the enamel (remineralization). However, the prerequisite is that the tooth is not covered by a thick plaque that prevents calcium absorption. Conscious diet also involves slow and careful chewing of solid foods. The mechanical abrasion and the stimulation of the saliva production provide for a certain cleaning and promote remineralization of the enamel. Drinking with meals also has a positive effect. So a part of the leftovers is immediately rinsed out of the mouth.
Dental chewing gums against tooth decay
If it is not possible to clean the teeth after eating, so-called toothpaste gums can be used. Here, too, the mechanical cleaning and the stimulation of the salivation flow result in a faster cleansing of the oral cavity. If these dental gums contain xylitol, this has a direct inhibiting effect on the growth of plaque bacteria. One should therefore pay attention to this ingredient. However, the use of dental caoutchouc can not replace the toothbrush. An optimal diet, as well as largely abstaining from sugar may reduce the caries problem, but consistent oral and oral hygiene as a cornerstone for successful caries prophylaxis can not be dispensed with.
Removing plaque as often as possible with regular teeth cleaning is the most effective way to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Leftovers on the tooth surfaces and spaces form an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. Only through this plaque caries and gingivitis can arise in the first place. If a tooth is properly cared for, then it also stays healthy. The following aspects play an important role in daily care:
- Varied food with lots of vegetables, fruits and cereal products
- Reduce excess sugar and sweets
- Avoid sugary snacks
- Gels, toothpastes, and mouthwash with fluoride make teeth harder and more resistant. By taking fluoride tablets even unbroken teeth are cured in the child.
- Your dentist can advise you on the most suitable fluoride treatment.
Inspection by the dentist
- Regular control every 6 months avoids the development of caries and other damage to the teeth. If you have your dental visits registered in a bonus book each time, you can also save money if there is a treatment.
- The best prevention is regular and careful dental care.
- Brush your teeth twice a day and make sure that as many plaque residues as possible are removed.
- Interdental spaces should be kept clean with dental floss.
Dentures need special care
In older people, special risk factors favor the development of tooth decay. On the one hand, receding gums favor the emergence of root caries. At the same time integrated dentures complicate oral hygiene and it comes to increased plaque accumulation on the remaining teeth, which in turn can cause tooth decay or so-called secondary caries on crowns and fillings. To prevent it, it is recommended to brush the teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. In addition, a healthy diet, the cleaning of the interdental spaces with dental floss and in particular a regular professional teeth cleaning helps to protect the teeth from decay.