Dental caries (cavity) is one of the major problems seen in children, adults and elderly people. When the cavity becomes bigger, deeper and reaches root, it may also leave you with not-so- fun type of pain. It’s always a wise way to know the causes, prevent them and save yourself from expensive dental bills.

Causes: Not only single but multiple factors play in role for caries

  • Poor dental hygiene, not brushing and flossing, brushing but not flossing or improper tooth brushing technique.
  •  Toothpaste without fluorine.
  •  Starchy, refined carbohydrates: Foods such as chips, bread, pasta or crackers; or chocolates, candies, sugary acidic drinks, etc.
  •  Frequent snack or tea time in between.
  •  Plaque (Danta leu); yellowish-white deposits on the tooth surface, on the gum lines or on the tooth restorations.
  •  Gingivitis and Periodontitis – infections of gums and surrounding tissue of tooth respectively due to not removal of plaque.
  •  Habit of clenching teeth during sleep or stress.
  •  Recession of gum line and exposure of roots especially in elderly people.
  • Diabetes Mellitus , dry mouth or Sjogren’s Syndrome.
  •  Pacifier with sugar or syrup; or leaving with milk bottle during the nap or sleep time in infants and young children.
  •  Genetics

Preventive measures

  • Use fluoridated toothpaste and soft bristle toothbrushes. Avoid tooth powders.
  • Correct tooth brushing technique twice a day after your meal along with flossing. Also, clean your tongue.
  • Changing toothbrush every 3 months and visit to dentist once or twice in a year.
  •  For heavy plaque deposit, scaling every 6 months or according to dentist.
  •  Avoidance of sugar rich, sticky foods, frequent snack or tea time in between, etc. Rinse your mouth immediately with water after eating any food.
  •  2% Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse (15 mL twice daily after brushing. Mouth rinsing should be retained for 30 seconds then expectorated after rinsing.)
  •  Eating healthy foods rich in dietary fibres.
  •  Avoid sugary acidic drinks and clenching tooth habit.
  • If caries had developed then visit your dentist as you might have to restore the tooth.
  •  Regular blood glucose monitoring for Diabetic patient.
  •  People with dry mouth or Sjogren’s syndrome can drink water or sugar free drinks in
  • frequent intervals.
  •  Not leaving children with pacifier or milk bottle during their nap or sleep time.

Author: Sonny Maharjan 3rd year Dental student

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