Caries – what is its impact on the body?

Próchnica – jaki jest jej wpływ na organizm

Caries are most often referred to simply as a dental disease. It is of course true, but their consequences can affect not only the teeth and the oral cavity. Today, we already know that caries affect the body in many ways.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay (caries) is an infectious bacterial disease of the teeth, in which the demineralization of the inorganic part of the tooth occurs. It is caused by plaque-forming bacteria. It is the most common oral disease. According to the WHO, it affects the teeth of 60-90% of children and almost all adults.

How to recognize caries symptoms?

In the initial stages of the disease, caries may develop asymptomatically, but the first signs of the disease become visible quite quickly.

  • Localized discoloration appears on the teeth.
  • Toothache is one of the most common, albeit nonspecific, symptoms of caries.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold, when there is partial exposure of the nerve endings in the patient’s mouth and irritation.
  • Visible dental cavities.
  • Bad breath.

What is the impact of tooth decay on our bodies?

Tooth decay is not only a disease of the hard dental tissues but above all a bacterial infection of variable extent. The penetration of bacteria to other areas of the body, as well as the habitual avoidance of situations causing troublesome symptoms of caries, including pain, can lead to many changes of various natures.

What diseases can caries cause?

●     Dental and oral diseases

Caries can generate periodontal disease but also contribute to the habit of teeth grinding or affect malocclusions. Gum diseases most often have a bacterial etiology, while malocclusion results from an unhealthy habitual bite – the patient develops abnormal chewing or speech patterns to avoid pain.

●     Ear infections

This is a fairly common consequence of caries, especially in children, where bacteria migrate through the ear canal. Besides, children in general are more exposed to all the consequences resulting from the spread of caries bacteria throughout the body, especially since the immune system at a young age does not yet function fully properly.

●     Eating disorders and diseases of the digestive system

Due to pain, patients may change their diet or avoid meals. This, combined with some potential for bacteria penetration into the digestive system, causes both localized and systemic symptoms to appear relatively often, albeit mainly in states of advanced caries.

●     Gas gangrene

It is a serious disease that requires immediate surgical intervention. It can occur, among others, through uncontrolled multiplication of caries bacteria. These are sporadic cases, but given the huge risk associated with this disease, it is necessary to immediately take specific action. Gangrene can be a fatal disease.

●     Infections and Inflammations

If bacteria destroying teeth acquire the ability to migrate, they can cause inflammation and infections of the throat, lungs, endocardium, meningitis, and even systemic infections. Bacteria living in the oral cavity, spreading outside it can negatively affect the health of the entire body.

●     Cardiovascular and cardiac diseases

Studies suggest a link between untreated caries and an increased risk of heart disease, including heart attacks. The mechanism is not fully understood, but accelerated deposition of atherosclerotic plaque is observed, and it can also be suspected that bacteria reaching the whole body may overload the circulatory system in the long term.

●     Complications of pregnancy

After penetration into the bloodstream, bacteria from the surface of the teeth may put a strain on the future mother’s body. Untreated tooth decay can lead to pregnancy complications such as premature birth, low birth rate, and an increased risk of infection in newborns. This topic is also still the subject of intensive research.

How to take care of your teeth to avoid decay?

Prophylaxis of caries comes down to two pillars: daily hygiene and regular check-ups at the dentist’s office.

Daily caries prophylaxis consists of regular tooth brushing, oral rinsing and flossing of interdental spaces, or the use of an irrigator. The idea is to remove a maximum number of bacteria from the surface of the enamel. Those bacteria can convert sugars into substances that destroy the enamel.

You should use undamaged toothbrushes and good-quality toothpaste to keep your teeth healthy. A proper diet is also an important element of prevention. It allows for the elimination of long-term oral acidification occurring after consuming certain types of meals conducive to the faster development of caries.

In the dental office, in addition to the periodic health check-up, you can get tartar and plaque removed. Dental tartar is a perfect environment for the growth of bacteria and may prevent their removal during daily dental care. Regular health check-ups also allow for the detection of decalcifications that may be foci in which carious cavities will develop quickly.

It is also worth consulting a dentist regarding the removal of malocclusions. Their large number may increase the risk of caries. Orthodontic treatment cannot completely prevent caries, but in many cases, it eliminates one of the risk factors for the development of caries, i.e. mechanical damage to the enamel, which occurs in connection with an abnormal bite.

How are caries treated?

In its initial stage caries can be cured even with no dental intervention. However, most often it is necessary to mechanically remove the areas occupied by the lesions and fill the cavities. Your dentist may use a filler or crown to secure and strengthen the tooth after treatment.

In extreme cases, when caries is very advanced and affects the root of the tooth, root canal treatment or tooth extraction may be necessary. The exact procedure is always prepared after the diagnosis of a specific case has been made. It is necessary because caries are divided into several clinical types, the treatment of which requires a slightly different methodology.

Caries treatment in the HCentrum

Regardless of the diseases caused by caries outside the oral cavity, even with only minor damage to the hard dental tissues, a dentist should be consulted to avoid more serious problems. It is relatively easy to prevent caries. Furthermore, once it appears, its removal in the early stages is not particularly unpleasant and not only saves the patient from further complications but does not even require complicated dental work. Book an appointment today and get rid of this problem. Do not wait any longer, because untreated caries destroy not only teeth.