Dental Caries: Current Approach

Dental Caries: Current Approach

Reports from the World Health Organization (WHO, 2007) establish that dental caries stands out among the most common oral diseases, affecting 60% -90% of schoolchildren worldwide.

It has also been stated that it is estimated that around five billion people on the planet have suffered from tooth decay. Being the most frequent disease in several Asian and Latin American countries, being more noticeable in underdeveloped countries.

In addition, multiple studies have corroborated that caries lesions are usually more common in the posterior molars.

From its beginnings to the present, dentistry has focused its efforts on combating the main evil that afflicts the oral health of the population, that is, tooth decay. From there, a series of mechanisms and procedures have been deployed that seek to mediate this problem.

Modern approaches define dental caries as an “infectious, contagious and multifactorial” disease, where two major processes are involved: remineralization and demineralization of the dental structure; Caries lesions are characterized by the destruction caused by the action of acids from the synthesis of carbohydrates (diet) by bacteria found in dental plaque.

Caries is a multifactorial disease that consists in the interrelation of multiple factors that, when coinciding, generate the onset of caries lesion, which should be understood as the localized demineralization (mineral loss) of the teeth. This demineralization occurs by the formation of acid products by oral microorganisms by synthesizing carbohydrates from the diet, specifically sucrose.

Dental caries is a gradual and progressive process involving a series of agents that produce an alteration or imbalance. Among the multiple factors, the following stand out:

  • The type of diet (frequency, type of food and beverages, consistency and texture of food, among others)
  • Oral hygiene (characteristics of the technique used and the implements used)
  • The particulars of each human being, which can increase or decrease caries susceptibility
  • Oral microorganisms, where the presence of Streptococcus mutans represents a risk factor.
  • Weather
  • Currently, it is associated with the chemical destruction caused by tooth decay to the intake of sugars and acids contained in beverages and food. However, “the consumption of sugar in the daily diet is just one more factor to consider in the appearance and development of tooth decay.”

However, the reduction in sugar intake and a balanced diet can have a positive impact on the process of dental caries and the future premature loss of teeth for this reason.

According to all of the above, tooth decay can be prevented by trying to constantly maintain a high concentration of fluoride in the oral cavity, through the fluoridation of drinking water, salt, milk, rinses and toothpaste , or by applying topical fluorides by the dentist. In fact, long-term exposure to optimal fluoride levels decreases the number of caries in children and adults.

In addition, a balanced diet, the promotion of proper oral hygiene techniques (tooth brushing, dental floss and mouthwashes), the periodic visit to the dentist are the current measures to prevent and prevent the progression of carious lesions.

Author: Dr. Alejandro Amaíz

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