Professional Academics Day: Dental Caries

What is dental caries?

Dental caries is the most widespread chronic disease affecting the modern race. It is an irreversible progressive bacterial damage of hard tooth structure exposed to the saliva. It is characterized by the production of organic acids by specific strains of bacteria causing demineralization of inorganic portion of the tooth structure followed by the destruction of the organic matrix. Break down of enamel and dentin creates a path for bacteria to reach the pulp. Eventually, inflammation of the pulp and the periapical tissue will occur.

According to a survey that had been carried out since 1971 in Malaysia, almost 90% of school children between the ages of 6 and 18 have suffered from dental caries. Based on the survey, it is proven that this disease is one of the most common oral diseases that arise among both children and adult.

There are several risk factors that are essential for the development of dental caries which includes diet, cariogenic bacteria, and a susceptible tooth. Whenever someone consumes any sticky carbohydrate frequently throughout the day this will aid in the progression of bacteria. Moreover, if the teeth are mal-aligned in position, having deep and narrow pits and fissure and enamel hypoplasia and hypocalcification these factors further contribute to the progression of dental caries. From the above, it can be concluded that most of these factors are easy to get if we do not take care of our oral health.

Besides brushing twice per day, flossing and the use of antibacterial mouth rinse is essential to reduce plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Here are a few dietary measures that you could follow to decrease the likelihood of risking yourself to dental caries:
1. Avoid frequent sucrose intake (‘snacking’)
2. If possible, ensure that half the daily caloric intake to be from carbohydrates.
3. Select more soluble forms of carbohydrates which clear quickly from the mouth (leafy green or yellow vegetables).
4. Consume carbohydrates at meals and avoid in-between meal snacks.
5. Substitute sticky sweets with raw fruit or vegetables or nuts for in-between meal snacks.
6. Cheese is highly recommended to eat, since it is one of the most potent caries preventing food there is. Not only does it stimulate a strong salivary flow but also raises calcium level concentration in plaque and raises oral pH to 7.5 within 3 minutes following ingestion which favors remineralization.

Last but not least, we can conclude that with neglection of dental hygiene everyone is actually at risk on getting some sort of teeth or gum problems. So it is essential for an individual to visit a dentist at least once every 6 months in order to re-evaluate the condition of your teeth and to know whether your oral care routine is done properly or not.It is common knowledge that our dentition is irreplaceable once lost, so it is very important for one to take good care of our teeth before its too late.

Prevention is definitely better than cure.




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