You mean cavities aren’t just bad things that happen to good people?
Cavities are the demineralised areas, or the holes, that form in teeth as a result of a bacterial infection called dental caries. This infection takes place when the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth are replaced by acid-producing bacteria. This shift in bacteria is primarily caused by two things:
Prolonged acidic oral environment: caused by a lack of saliva or a sugary/acidic diet that favours acid-producing bacteria.
Carbohydrates that are left in contact with teeth. The longer they remain in contact the higher the risk of Decay.
Sugar breakdown products will also cause the same effect as above.
Drilling and filling has been the traditional method of treating cavities, but it doesn’t treat the infection, just the symptoms. Brushing and flossing has been the traditional method of prevention, and a good Oral Hygiene technique is needed.
The caries infection is a very complex “biofilm” infection. There are currently 23 identified strains of bacteria and even some strains of yeast that all have the ability to metabolise and ferment the carbohydrates and sugars that we ingest and produce lactic, acetic, and formic acids as a waste product.
These acids are responsible for eating away at the hard coating of the tooth, enamel, and causing demineralisation and eventual cavitation, holes, within the enamel.
The research and understandings of this process are far reaching, offering new avenues for prevention and treatment. Long-gone are the days when cavities were just bad things that happened to good people. They are caused by an infection that can be identified and treated. Some of the challenges involved with treating the caries infection arise because it does encompass so many pathogens (organisms causing disease).
However, biofilm infections not only encompass many pathogens, but the structure of the biofilm community can be very protective and tough to penetrate.
Using a Good a Oral Hygiene Regime is very important. Using Good quality products to help breakdown and remove the biofilm is also essential.