Tooth Decay/ Cavity
We have a tendency to take our teeth for granted. Most
of us live in an illusion that whatever we do or however we abuse our teeth, nothing grave would ever
happen. These same beliefs are passed on to our children. These beliefs were fine in the
olden days when there were no chocolates, no sticky foods, and no pressure cookers. The
type of food people ate were mostly coarse in nature and raw. To enjoy the modern
treats that tickle your tongue, you have to learn to maintain and protect our teeth by
modern methods. See the Cariogram picture below.
White color represents Sugar and Red is Bacteria.
One of the most common problems with teeth is the development of cavities. Tooth decay
or cavities were considered disease of children, but today we find many adults also
getting them frequently. The outermost white covering of a tooth is Enamel, this white
cover is hard and can withstand years of wear and tear. But it can not withstand acids.
When foods that are rich in carbohydrates and starch remain on teeth, they are acted upon
by bacteria present in the saliva, leading to the production of acids and formation of
A combination of three factors is necessary for the formation of cavities. Black
colour represents the host resistance or the resistance of the individual. The White
represents the sugar or sweets or like substances. The Red represents the Bacteria.
Various combinations of these three factors decide whether a person will get
cavities or not. For example- if your resistance is low you can increase it by
application of fluorides, you can use specific mouth washes to reduce the bacteria or you
can cut down on your sugar intake- and you will not get cavities.
Most people get cavities, go to the dentist, get them filled, again get a cavity, get
it filled. Unless you deal with- why cavity is forming in my mouth, you will not
get rid of this problem. It is the responsibility of your dentist to ascertain the cause
of cavity formation and counsel you accordingly so that patient will not get cavities in
future, merely "filling the cavity" is not the right approach, in fact it is
Use of fluorides has been certified world wide as being effective against cavities.
In America most cities have fluoridated drinking water. In India we must use fluoride
tooth paste if we have tendency to get more cavities (children below 7 years are not to
use fluoride toothpaste). Some areas in India already have a high fluoride content in
ground water; people living in those areas do not need to use fluoride in any other form.
In European countries fluoride is available in form of tablets, in milk, salt etc.
Unfortunately Indian Govt. has not taken any initiative in this area.
Most cavities start from the chewing surfaces, though in older individuals cavities
form at the tooth contact points also. Chewing surfaces of teeth contain minute grooves or
fissures. These fissures act as the storehouse for food accumulation and acid
formation. It is easily preventable by placing "Fissure Sealants". Ask
your dentist to place fissure sealant in your childs molar teeth and they will be
protected for a very long time from any cavities. Prevention is your best bet. And of
course in earlier article we have already discussed the importance and timings of tooth
brushing. You must keep in mind that neglect and delay in dental treatment
lead to more pain and high cost.
Eating habits can play havoc with your teeth. If your have tendency to get more
cavities, avoid in between the meal, snacks and sweets. If your child loves sweets and
chocolates very much, give him just before his meals. This has two benefits- one, the
sweets are washed off by eating food-avoiding cavities and secondly, your child eats well.
Giving chocolates at odd times gives high calories to the child and kills his appetite. So
next time you hold out a chocolate to your friends or your own child-think, what it
can do to harm him.
So keep these facts in mind and you will lead a happy life free of cavities.
©2008-2013, Healthmantra.com. All Rights Reserved.