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Tooth Decay

             In todays appearance driven world clean and heathly teeth are a sign of good hygene and success. Yellow, decaying, and rotten teeth show poor hygene or a low income. This decaying of teeth is called dental caries. .
             Dental caries (tooth decay) is one of the most common of all disorders, second only to the common cold. It usually occurs in children and young adults but can affect any person. It is the most important cause of tooth loss in younger people (www.nlm.nih.gov). There are many causes for tooth decay ranging from bacteria to acids. We will explain these caues and also to you ways to prevent it.
             Bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque that adheres to the teeth. It is most prominent on the grooved chewing surfaces of back molars, just above the gum line on all teeth, and at the edges of fillings. Plaque that is not removed from the teeth mineralizes into calculus (tartar). Plaque and calculus irritate the gums, resulting in gingivitis and ultimately periodontitis (www.nlm.nih.gov). The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the tooth and create holes in the tooth (cavities). Cavities are usually painless until they grow very large inside the internal structures of the tooth (the dentin and the pulp at the core) and can cause death of the nerve and blood vessels in the tooth. If left untreated a tooth abscess can develop.
             Bacteria are living organisms just like we are. As you know, humans consume food and produce waste products which are subsequently excreted. Bacteria do the same thing. The bacteria which are capable of causing cavities (mutans streptococci and lactobacilli) consume sugars as food (glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, or cooked starches). The waste products these bacteria create from having consumed these sugars are the acids (especially lactic acid) which cause a tooth's demineralization (tooth decay formation) (www.

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