Dental caries still are the number one reason that people visit the dentist. It is by far the most common dental problem, and is the one that dentists spend the most time on, and as such it is what patients pay for most often. They are of course, completely preventable.
Most of us do not need to be introduced to dental caries. They are the tiny holes that appear in your enamel, and they can go all the way through your teeth, causing immense pain and destruction of tooth material. Dental caries are caused by the bacteria that live in your mouth. These bacteria eat carbohydrates, and excrete acids like lactic acid that break down the enamel of the tooth and thus literally burn little holes into your teeth. These little holes are dental caries. Once little holes have been burned in your enamel, the bacteria that live in your mouth can now start to live inside your tooth structures, attacking the blood vessels in your alveolus, your gums, internal tooth structures, etc. When this happens, a root canal treatment is in order.
The best way to prevent caries is to limit the intake of carbohydrates, particularly of sugar in your diet, and to exercise proper oral health care. Just one of these will not be enough, as almost all processed foods have some kinds of complex carbs in them, which is the food for bacteria. That is why regular oral care is necessary for us, where as it was unnecessary for the Norse, or the Inuit, for example. They simply do not have anything in their diet that bacteria can get fat on, and thus no problems of this sort.
The main way to prevent caries is to see a dentist every six months, for a regular check up and examination. The better you are about keeping these appointments, the less the likelihood of you developing dental caries. Even the best diet and most rigorous at home oral care will result in dental caries after a while, because bacteria are just so tiny and so sly, that they can just live in your mouth without you being able to do much about it. If you get a deep cleaning every six months, you will actually save a bunch of money, and will never have to have caries again. If caries are developing, an ultraviolet light will show signs of demineralization,and thus the dentist will be able to take cation and mend the caries before they develop.
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