Decay is common but preventable

Q. What are dental caries and how can I prevent them?

A. Dental caries is also known as tooth decay and cavities. It is one of the most common dental diseases, but also the one that is the easiest to prevent. They are usually formed when you eat certain foods.

The bacteria from your teeth break them down to produce acid, which can do serious damage to your teeth. Usually, dental caries can be spotted on two areas of your teeth. One of them is towards the surface of your teeth, where food repeatedly comes in contact with food.

The other is between your teeth and it’s on these two areas that bacteria normally aggravate the teeth. If the teeth and the surrounding areas are not looked after properly, the bacteria will digest the sugars and convert them into acids. Once the acids attack the teeth, they can demineralise the tooth enamel and form tiny holes. As the enamel breaks down, the tooth gets weaker and is unable to regenerate the calcium structures of the teeth.

There are four ways that dental caries can be treated – fillings, root canal treatment, crowns or extraction. Fillings are usually the most common treatment option for dental caries with most dentists opting for that. Depending on how severe the damage is, your dentist may opt for the alternatives.

The best way to prevent dental caries is to just maintain healthy oral hygiene. Brush regularly, use mouthwash and go for a check-up every six months.

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