Authors: Dr Ranjeet Singh (Ayurveda), Dr Pooja (Dentist)
Carries is the Latin word for rotten. Dental caries means rotten teeth. Dental caries or tooth decay is the most important cause of tooth loss. It is characterised by bacteria induced progressive destruction of the mineral and organic components of the enamel and dentine, the two outer layers of the tooth. It is considered to be one of the most common disease of modern is caused, in the large measure, by eating denatured foods of today, which are too soft and too sweet.
The teeth are an amazing balance of form and function, aesthetic beauty and engineering. Good teeth are an important part of one’s health and appearance. They play a very important role in the digestion. One can look one’s best with a good smile, which emanates from good health.
What are the causes of Dental caries?
- Streptococcus mutans
- Lactobacillus acidophilus
- Actinomycetes viscous
Dental caries results from faulty diet. The most common cause of this disease is the consumption of soft drinks, cakes, pastries, refined carbohydrates and sugar in all forms. Lack of balance between carbohydrates and proteins and insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals also contribute to this disease.
It is commonly prevalent where refined devitalised, processed and demineralised food, grown on soils deficient in minerals, are eaten.
Food particles lodged in the mouth may provide a suitable place for the growth of bacteria. These, in turn produce a local acid reaction which then attack the surface of tooth. Minute cracks or defects in the enamal, or hard outer covering of the tooth may also lead to this process. Once enamal has been eroded away, the body of the teeth is more easily damaged.
Signs and symptoms of dental caries?
Initially there is a white shining spot which with time changes to black colour and finally the cavity is formed. The tooth may be merely sensitive to hot and cold substances in the mouth and also to pressure from biting. Later, an abscess forms at the base of the tooth and the pain becomes severe. It may be sharp throbbing, shooting or constant. If the tooth is not properly treated it will eventually have to be extracted. Other symptoms my include halitosis (bad breath), inflammation of gums, and discoloration of teeth.
Clinical classification of dental caries (tooth decay)
Dental caries has been classified in number of ways depending upon clinical features which characterize particular lesion.
According to location on particular teeth
(1) Pits or fissur caries
(2) Smooth surface caries
Fissures are small depression on the surface of enamel. They are mostly located on occlusal(chewing) surface of posterior teeth and lingual surface of maxillary anterior teeth. Pits are small pinpoint depressions on surface. Buccal pits are found on facial surface of molars. Depression on the surface makes oral hygiene difficult allowing dental caries to flourish. Smooth surface caries occurs on the smooth surface of the tooth.
According to rapidity of process
- Acute dental caries
- Chronic dental caries
According to condition, whether the listened is new one or occurring around margin of restoration
- Primary ( virgin) caries
- Secondary ( recurrent) caries
The most commonly affected tooth for carries is upper and lower first molar.
Management of dental caries ( tooth decay)?
Treatment of dental caries consists of the removal of decayed regions of the tooth and filling the cavities. If the cavities have reached the pulp, it may become necessary to extract the effective tooth.
How Ayurveda could help in the management of dental caries?
Proper cleaning is the most important step towards healthy and sparkling teeth. Ideally, teeth should be cleaned after every meal, but one thoroughly cleaning each day will be far better than any number of hurried brushing. A quick brushing is a waste of time. The teeth may appear clean, but they will still be coated with the layer of plaque, a sticky, transparent substance. It is invisible, but it can be felt as fuzzy coating on teeth. It is the substance which leads to decay. In fact, even with normal brushing, one can still miss removing as much as 80% of the plague.
Toothpaste is not in fact essential for the removal of plague, although most people referred to is it. It does help to keep the mouth fresh. The fluoride, which is now being added to an increasing number of pastes also help the outer enammal and this renders it less susceptible to decay.
The mineral fluoride is essential for tooth building. Studies on dental caries in human beings have shown that the incidence is high in areas where the drinking water contain less than 0.5 ppm. floride and low in areas where the water contains 1to 2ppm. fluoride. It has further been shown that the addition of 1 ppm. floride to drinking water significantly reduces the incidence of dental caries.
Gargles with decoration of catechu, babul bark, nimb bark and lemon leaves will help to reduce problem.
Onions are considered beneficial in the prevention to tooth decay.
Lemon and line also promote healthy teeth and gums due to their high vitamin C content. They strengthen the gums and teeth, and are very effective in preventing during acute inflammation of the gum margins. They should therefore form a part of childrens diet.