Caries occur when the so called cariogenic factors contributing to the dissolution of mineral-content of teeth prevale over the mineral - producing factors, so the balance is turned over.
In these cases, the tooth enamel continuously loses its mineral content, it gets thinner and then it breaks. The strength of the attack against our teeth depends on five aspects: the pellicle, the carbohydrates, the quantity of food rests, the frequency of meals and the lack of protecting factors.
- The pellicle: caries result from the presence of bacteria that decompose carbohydrates and produce acid and a sticky material that contributes to the formation of pellicle. The bacteria live on in the pellicle and they continue producing acid.
- Carbohydrates: Meals and drinks containing fermentable carbohydrates contribute to the production of acid.
- Food rests left in our mouth: The time-span of the food remaining in our mouth influences the caries. The longer the food stays in our mouth, the more damage it can cause.
- The frequency of meals: The more often we eat food that enhances acid-production, the bigger the extent of the caries is. The frequent acid attacks increase the time-span of acid extracting processes and reduce the chances of recovery.
- Lack of protective factors: The carogenic factors are outweighed by protective factors: the saliva (it has an effect on the bacteria, the formation of tooth pellicle and the structure of the enamel), fluoride (strengthens the enamel, enhances the restorement of the mineral-content, inhibits the reproduction of bacteria and the formation of acid), removal of the pellicle (tooth brushing and rinsing), applying a sealing on pits and fissures (a sealant that closes the pits and fissures on the tooth enamel). The lack of all these factors contributes to the faster decay of our teeth.
Did you know that?
- People on diet expose their teeth to a special danger, since their diet contains many acid vegetables, fruit, fruit juices and herbal tea.
- The risk of tooth decay increases in case of sportspeople (they often consume acidulous sport drinks that energize) and those who maintain their weight through vomiting.
- Washing your teeth immediately after meals can be harmful, because it continues to rub the teeth that have previously been exposed to acidic agents.
- Drinking tea or soft drinks slowly harms your teeth more than drinking them quickly, because the teeth have a longer contact with the acids.
- The quantity of sugar consumed as snacks between meals harm the teeth more, than the same quantity of sugar consumed during main meals.
- A Dutch survey has outlined that the number of children with healthy dentures hasn’t increased even after a campaign launched by dentists which encouraged the moderation of sugar consumption.