Caries is a destructive bacterial disease of dental structures. Produced by a series of microbes that live in our mouths. Tooth decay is also the most common chronic childhood illness.
When we eat, the ingested sugars that have remained in the mouth are metabolized by the bacterial plaque and, when metabolized, acids are produced causing the intraoral pH to drop. The decrease in intraoral pH attacks the mineral structure of the enamel, causing its demineralization.
The most common symptoms of tooth decay are:
- Change of tooth coloration (Dental esthetic alteration)
- Appearance of a cavity in the tooth
- Retention of food between the teeth
- Bad breath or halitosis
“The main prevention measure is daily hygiene“
The caries of early childhood or “Bottle Caries” can occur from the moment when the first teeth appear in the child’s mouth.
The longer it takes to start dental hygiene processes, the more likely the child will have tooth decay.
Because of the confluence of several factors:
– The bacteria that produce acid.
– The susceptible teeth.
– Fermented carbohydrates (sweets, milks, etc …).
– Time (the frequency with which teeth are exposed to acids derived from sugar.
– The quality of oral hygiene.
All this causes a suitable state for the rapid propagation of the bacteria that cause the acids that break down the enamel of the tooth.
The caries must be diagnosed by the dentist and, in the case of children, by the specialist in pediatric dentistry through periodic reviews that must take place every six months.
If it is the parents who observe it, it is usually late because the cavitation process has started and precious time has been lost.
“The Spanish Society of Pediatric Dentistry (S.E.O.P.) defends that the first visit to the dentist is made at the first year of life, and even during the last trimester of pregnancy“
When caries only affects the enamel it does not cause pain. However, if the infection spreads, it will eventually reach the inner tissue of the tooth and in these cases if it causes pain. As the infection progresses abscesses and more serious infections that can infect the final teeth are caused.
The main cause of tooth decay is the lack of proper hygiene. It is important to raise awareness among the little ones about the importance of oral hygiene.
– Until the first year of age: it is enough to clean the teeth with a wetted gauze.
– After two years, the brush is inserted, with a small head and soft bristles.
Parents have the task of teaching the child, passing the brush gently, after each meal. The amount of toothpaste should be minimal (size of a lentil).