One cannot deny that a little treat from time to time is good morale, but we must not forget that dental caries are mainly due to excess sugar. In fact, every Canadian consumes on average 40 kg of sugar a year; it is easy to understand that adequate oral hygiene is the key to preventing the development of dental caries. But what exactly is tooth decay?
Caries in a nutshell!
Let us first recall that a tooth is formed of three different layers, that is, from the outside to the inside, the enamel, the dentine and, finally, the pulp. The enamel is the superficial layer of the tooth, that is to say the one that is in contact with the inside of the mouth, including the food ingested. The enamel is followed by the dentine, the part that forms the majority of the mass of the tooth. Finally, we find the dental pulp, in the center, where the blood vessels, the lymphatic vessels and the nerves are hidden. When a decay occurs, the three parts of the tooth are destroyed. This destruction settles progressively from the surface (enamel) to the center of the tooth (the pulp).
Initially, caries does not cause pain, and when it reaches the dentine (the middle layer) and the bacteria have a free field to reach the dental pulp, the sensitivity of the tooth increases. First, there is sensitivity to heat and cold, and as caries grows, the tooth becomes sensitive to sugar. Finally, the decay is visible and looks like a brown or black spot on the tooth.
Dental caries can be caused by various factors such as dental plaque, heredity, and diet.
The plaque is a deposit that accumulates on the surface of the tooth. It is actually an invisible film that contains a lot of bacteria. The plaque hardens within 24 to 36 hours and there is an accumulation of this deposit every day. It is also plaque that is mainly responsible for gum infections.
With regard to heredity, we can speak here of the family history of caries. Indeed, some people are more likely to develop cavities, especially because of the pH of their saliva which is naturally more acidic, allowing bacteria to multiply more.
Finally, the diet also plays a big role in the appearance of caries. The absence of brushing as well as the consumption of sugar are two factors causing a decrease in oral pH, which promotes the proliferation of bacteria causing the erosion of tooth enamel, which is the first step in the development of decay. Dental. The more sugar consumption is common, the more damage to the enamel will intensify and gradually reach the other parts of the tooth.
If the caries is left untreated, it can cause destruction of the tooth and even an infection of the bone where it is implanted, due to the penetration of microbes.
Enjoy sweets and avoid damaging your teeth
On its website, the Canadian Dental Association offers some suggestions that can help preserve our teeth while sweetening their mouths from time to time.
Here are a few:
Eat candies at meals rather than as a snack since the saliva secretion is much more abundant at this time, which allows to dilute and clean the sugar on the teeth.
Avoid, preferably, caramels which stick more to the dental wall and which are thus more difficult to dislodge.
If you cannot brush your teeth, rinse your mouth with water, eat fibrous foods or chew a sugar-free gum.
Teeth cleaning: the best way to avoid cavities
There is no miracle product to avoid cavities. The key to proper oral care is thorough cleaning of the teeth after each meal and at bedtime. A thorough cleaning includes brushing, of course, but it’s important to remember that flossing between each of the teeth is essential. Indeed, without flossing, more than 30% of the tooth surface is not reached. Thus, this is an effective method of preventing gum disease and cavities. Flossing avoids the formation of dental plaque by preventing the accumulation of food between the teeth and, consequently, the accumulation of bacteria. It should be noted that starting the use of dental floss, it often happens that the gums bleed. In the vast majority of cases,
A complete tooth brushing should last from 2 to 3 minutes and must be done in the minutes following the meal, because the time necessary for the attack of the bacteria is short. To brush properly, it is important to hold your brush at a 45 ° angle to your teeth and massage gently up and down in a rotating motion. Make sure you have the proper technique to avoid causing your teeth to become loose, that is, the retraction of the gums from the surface of the tooth. It is important to remember the last molars completely in the back of the mouth, even if they are hard to reach.
In addition, the use of a suitable toothbrush facilitates brushing: choose a brush with soft and rounded bristles. Finally, it is important to change your toothbrush every three months, the maximum life of a toothbrush.
Aside from regular cleaning of the teeth, it is advisable to adopt a balanced diet, avoiding among others, and the abuse of sweets. It is also very important to check your gums from time to time as they provide good indications of mouth and teeth health. Watch for redness, swelling, tenderness, or bleeding when brushing or flossing.
Smoking is one of the main causes of tooth loss; then, notice to hardened smokers, it is in your best interest to quit!
Finally, remember that regular visits to the dentist are required, since this health professional is able to detect anomalies that are difficult to observe oneself.
Special care in children
Children are the most likely to have cavities, so it is important to ensure that they receive quality care.
First of all, young children are not able to take adequate care of their teeth. Their parents have to do the cleaning for their child even before the appearance of the first tooth. It is therefore enough to gently rub the gums and teeth, if there are any, with a baby toothbrush or a damp cloth.
As soon as your child is able to write his name by hand, know that he is also able to brush his teeth properly. However, it is important to make sure that he gets into the habit of brushing his teeth gently, in order to avoid damaging his gums. In addition, make sure that it does not swallow toothpaste because it can develop dental fluorosis, a disease caused by chronic fluoride poisoning. In fact, take care not to put too much toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush. When the first tooth appears, a hint of toothpaste is more than enough. By the time your child is 3 years old, an amount equivalent to the size of a pea should be adequate.
Finally, the feeding of children also plays a key role in maintaining a healthy dentition. Sugar is also an important factor in the development of caries. It is obvious that the amount of sugar consumed and the time of stay in the mouth are directly related to the likelihood of caries occurring in your child’s mouth. Be sure to reduce the frequency with which your child consumes sugar and choose foods with the least amount of sugar possible.
For example, choose fruit juices with no added sugar and have him drink water between meals instead of a sweet drink. It should be noted that natural sugar is as damaging as refined sugar, which is why caution is required because it is a question of quantity and not of the origin of sugar. In addition, beware of certain liquid medications that contain a good amount of sugar, such as cough syrups. In order to make the right choice, do not hesitate to consult the advice of your pharmacist who will tell you which medicines do not contain sugar.
Good habits to keep teeth healthy
In closing, the secret of keeping a healthy dentition is in daily maintenance work on your mouth. Do not forget, sweets are like alcohol: moderation always tastes better!