Dental health is an often-overlooked aspect of general health but it is not less important. Ensuring that the mouth, and in particular the teeth and gums, are functioning properly is very important. Good dental care allows individuals to speak and eat well, while also enhancing the appearance. An infection in the mouth can cause painful inflammation of the gums, dental caries, loss of teeth and halitosis or bad breath.
Causes of Tooth Decay
The most common dental disorders are caries or cavities. They can occur at any age and the progression is usually gradual and can lead to the loss of teeth. Some individuals are more susceptible to cavities or tooth decay than others. The condition also tends to affect some particular teeth in the mouth. Some factors that determine the susceptibility of teeth to cavities include:
• The structure of the oral cavity or shape of the jaw – This can cause some teeth to be more difficult to clean or floss. Most people find it difficult to floss the teeth in the back of the mouth and this can make them more prone to cavities.
The structures of the teeth – some teeth have fissures or cracks that can encourage decay. The cracks let in acids and bacteria into the inner part of the tooth weakening the tooth, which causes decay.
• The production of saliva in the mouth – The quantity and quality of the saliva that is produced by an individual can determine formation of cavities. Teeth that are more exposed to saliva usually get fewer cavities. This is especially true of the lower front teeth.
• The type and amount of bacteria in the mouth will also determine the cavities. While all bacteria lead to formation of acids, some like Lactobacilli and Streptococci produce acid that is more powerful and increases the risk of cavities or tooth decay.
Good oral hygiene reduces the formation of tooth decay. By brushing and flossing regularly using fluoridated toothpaste, the plaque that causes the tooth decay is removed. Regular dental checkup also helps to keep the teeth and mouth healthy. Fluoride is a very important component of good oral health. It prevents demineralization and makes the tooth enamel to harden which makes it less susceptible to acid. There are different sources of fluoride and they include toothpaste and drinking water.