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What are Dental Caries?

what are dental caries? what are cavities? what is a cavity? what is tooth decay?

Most people are familiar with what the words "cavity" or "tooth decay" means. Both of these words are basically synonymous, but have you ever heard your Dentist or Dental professional use the word "Caries", if you have, then there is a chance you might have some confusion as to what this word means, but here is a simple and quick explanation.

What are Dental Caries? In essence Dental caries is another word to refer to tooth decay, which is most commonly known by the average non-dental individual as cavities. Dental caries are tooth areas that have been permanently damaged, this damage usually causes holes(a cavity) on the affected area and is, for the most part, irreversible. What causes Dental Caries? Dental caries are caused by bacteria that live in our mouth and around our teeth. These bacteria will break down food (carbohydrates) that remain in our mouth after we eat or snack and produce an acid. This acid will begin to remove the protective minerals from our tooth's enamel (most outer surface of the tooth) slowly causing it to decay. Continuous exposure to these acids will eventually remove enough enamel, causing a hole (cavity) on the tooth where even more bacteria can thrive and live.

As explained in a previous blog, luckily we have minerals in our saliva such as calcium and phosphate that help put these lost minerals back in our teeth. Although remineralization is a great cavity-protection process, this doesn't mean that its imperishable, therefore proper oral hygiene is necessary to ultimately prevent (or greatly reduce the risk of) tooth decay. Consider using an electric toothbrush, like an oscillating or sonic toothbrush to improve your home care.

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