Dental caries is an old disease. Pale-ontological evidence shows that it has afflicted humans at least from the time that agriculture replaced hunting and gathering. Examination of skulls in Britain proposes that caries prevalence changed little from the Anglo-Saxon period (5th to 7th centuries) to the end of the Middle Ages, around the year 1500. Tooth wear during this period was marked and developed early in life. Some lesions in young people have begun in the chewing surfaces but grew no further because the rate of erosion was faster than the rate of cavity progression. Lesions found in skulls dating from this period are most commonly at the neck and the root areas. Cavity of the crown was rather uncommon.
In the industrialized nations carious lesion normally begins in the chewing surfaces and develops subsequently surfaces between the teeth. This modern pattern of caries was not obvious in Britain until the 16th century. Dietary changes during the 17th century, principally increased refinement and greater use of sucrose as sugars became more available, are considered chiefly responsible for developing the modern pattern of caries.
When import duties on sugar in Britain began to be removed in 1845 and were completely irradicated in 1875, the severity of caries increased. By the end of the 19th century, dental caries was well established as an endemic disease of massive proportions not only in Britain but also in most other developed countries.
The bacteria in your dental plaque converts the sugar that you eat into the acid through the process known as fermentation. In biochemistry, it is estimated that one glucose (sugar) molecule can ferment into two molecules of pyruvate acids.
Bacteria + Sugar ——> Acid
When the acid contacts the outer surface (enamel) of the tooth, it dissolves the enamel, forming a hole. This hole is called a cavity or dental caries. Superficial dental cavities are those that occur within the outermost enamel layer of the tooth, and they require a close observation from our dentist. If the cavity grows into the softer inner layer (dentin), the tooth needs to be restored with a filling.
Acid + Tooth surface ——> Cavity
As the cavity becomes bigger and penetrates through the dentin layer, it gets into the nerve chamber (pulp) at the center of the tooth. This causes a toothache. A toothache may be treated with a root canal therapy or an extraction.
What is the easiest way to prevent dental cavity?
To prevent from having a cavity you will need:
- to reduce the number of the bacteria in dental plaque by proper brushing and flossing 2-3 times daily, professional cleaning by the dental hygienist every six month, and placing the preventive fillings (sealants) on the chewing surface of the tooth.
- to reduce the your daily sugar intake.
Some people believe that certain races enjoy a sigh degree of resistance to dental caries. This belief stemmed from the early observations that some non-European races, such as those in Africa and India, enjoyed a greater freedom from caries than did Europeans. These assertions have faded as the recent evidence mounts that global differences in caries experience are more a result of environment than they are of inherent racial attributes. There is evidence that certain racial groups, once thought to be resistant to caries, quickly developed the disease when they moved to areas with different cultural and dietary patterns.