¿Por qué se crean las caries y cómo evitarlo?

Why do cavities occur and how to avoid them?

Tooth decay is a common problem that affects many people around the world. They form due to a destructive process that affects the tooth structure and is mainly caused by the interaction of bacteria, carbohydrates (sugars) and other factors in the mouth. Here is an explanation on how cavities form and how to avoid them:

Cavity formation:

  1. Plaque : In the mouth, there is a community of bacteria that form a soft, sticky film known as plaque on the teeth. This plaque forms naturally and contains bacteria that feed on the sugars and starches we consume.

  2. Acid production: When plaque bacteria come into contact with the sugars and starches of the foods we consume (such as those present in sweets, soft drinks, bread, etc.), they produce acids as a byproduct of their metabolism.

  3. Demineralization: Acids produced by bacteria attack the hard, protective enamel that covers the teeth. This is known as demineralization, where the minerals (mainly calcium and phosphate) in the enamel dissolve, weakening the tooth structure.

  4. Cavity Formation: Over time, continued demineralization weakens the enamel, eventually leading to the formation of small openings or cavities in the teeth. These cavities are dental cavities.

How to avoid cavities:

  1. Good oral hygiene: The basis for preventing cavities is maintaining good oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, flossing daily to remove plaque between your teeth, and using fluoride mouthwash.

  2. Healthy eating: Reducing the consumption of foods and drinks rich in sugars and starches is key to preventing cavities. Bacteria feed on these carbohydrates and produce acids that are harmful to teeth. Opt for fresh, healthy foods instead.

  3. Fluoride: Fluoride is a mineral that helps strengthen tooth enamel and can reverse early demineralization. Be sure to use fluoride toothpaste and consider fluoride mouthwashes if your dentist recommends it.

  4. Regular visits to the dentist: It is important to have regular dental checkups (usually every six months) to detect dental problems in their early stages and receive professional cleanings to remove accumulated plaque and tartar.

  5. Dental sealants: Sealants are protective coatings that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (molars and premolars). They help prevent plaque buildup and protect teeth from cavities.

  6. Sugar-free gum : Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates the production of saliva, which helps neutralize acids and rinse food particles from the mouth.

Remember that prevention is the key to avoiding cavities. By following these guidelines and maintaining good oral health, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing tooth decay. It is always advisable to consult your dentist for specific guidance regarding your dental health.

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