Caries, or holes in the teeth, you get when harmful bacteria form acids that loosen the enamel surface of the tooth. You get a hole in the tooth.
You can prevent caries by going to regular dental health checks, avoiding sweets, and using fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth.
Symptoms of holes in the teeth
An early caries injury may appear as a white spot or stripe on the tooth. Sometimes the damage is to the surfaces of the tooth that are not visible outwards. Such injuries can be detected by means of an x-ray examination.
Early caries are not felt, but as the hole gets deeper you can sometimes feel tingling or tingling in the tooth. If you get a toothache, it can mean that the injury has gone so deep that the nerve in the tooth has become inflamed.
When should I seek care?
If you regularly go to the dental office, caries is usually detected at an early stage.
Regular dental health checks at a dentist or dental hygienist are important, including getting individually customized advice on how to avoid caries. In dental health checks, caries can be detected and treated at an early stage.
You can avoid holes in your teeth
There are a few easy ways to protect yourself from getting holes in your teeth:
- Avoid small meals between meals, especially those containing sugar.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste morning and evening.
- Take extra fluoride supplements if your dentist or dental hygienist deems it necessary.
If you eat sweets or drink sweet drinks often, the saliva will not get enough time to repair the enamel after the acid attack. Therefore, it is not good for your teeth if you eat sweets too often.
Care and treatment of holes in the teeth
At a dental health check, the dentist or dental hygienist examines, among other things, if you have any caries. By means of x-rays, lighter holes are detected on tooth surfaces that are difficult to see. The dentist or dental hygienist can also assess how far into the tooth a caries injury has reached.
Your risk of having problems with your teeth is also assessed, and you can get individually tailored advice to reduce your risk of getting, for example, caries. You can get dietary advice on avoiding sugar, advice on brushing your teeth in a better way and possibly taking fluoride supplements. With such dental care, small caries can heal and you do not need repair. At the same time, the risk of new injuries is reduced.
The risk assessment also forms the basis for when you should come to the next dental health check. Regular examinations increase the possibility of detecting caries at an early stage.
Harmful bacteria are examined
You may have problems with caries even if you take care of your teeth carefully. If you get new holes every year, the dentist or dental hygienist tries to find out the reason for this.
Sometimes an examination is made of how much harmful bacteria you have in your mouth or how the saliva flow works. Often analysis is also made of what and how often you eat.
You can also get help from the dental professional with extra cleaning of the teeth, or with treatment with fluoride varnish. Dental professionals can also fill deep gaps in the teeth so bacteria and sugar cannot penetrate.
Once you’ve got a hole
To make holes in the teeth consists of two steps:
- To remove the damaged part of the tooth.
- Filling the hole with the dental filling material.
Most often, the dentist uses a drill bit to remove the damaged part of the tooth. There is also a remedy, Carisolv, that dissolves the damage so that the dentist can scrape away the destroyed part. If the tooth needs to be repaired, the dentist will usually try to keep as much of the tooth as possible.
When the damaged part of the tooth is removed, the hole is filled with dental filling material, which can be, for example, plastic composite, porcelain, or gold.
If caries’ injury is very large, it may be better to remove the tooth than to make a repair.
The treatment usually goes quickly and rarely causes discomfort. Of course, you can choose for yourself if you want anesthesia in the tooth where the repair is done.
Treatment usually goes quickly and rarely causes discomfort. If you suffer from severe dental care you can get help for it.
Caries dissolves the surface of the tooth
The dental disease or caries, which are usually called cold holes in the teeth, occurs when bacteria on the teeth form acids that gradually dissolve the tooth surface.
If the disease is not treated, the surface will eventually become uneven and soft, and a hole will form. Then the bacteria can penetrate further into the tooth, causing the innermost part, the pulp, to become inflamed. In some cases, inflammation may continue in the jawbone and cause injury there as well.
Some parts are harder to brush
You get lighter carries on the parts of the teeth where bacteria, plaque, are easily collected. This applies, for example, between the teeth, where it is difficult to clean properly, and in chewing surfaces with deep grooves. The teeth that sit farther in the back of the mouth receive bacterial coatings more often than the front teeth.
Sugar initiates the acid formation
When you eat something containing sugar or other carbohydrates, the bacteria react to form harmful acids that corrode the tooth. The acid attack usually lasts for about half an hour after eating. Usually, the saliva in the mouth can repair the damage to the enamel after the acid attack. If there is fluoride in the saliva, for example, by brushing your teeth daily with fluoride toothpaste, the saliva’s repair work works better.
Dry mouth worsens
However, much of the saliva’s healing ability is impaired if you suffer from dry mouth. When there is not enough saliva, acid attacks can last more than twice as long as compared to normal saliva. If the teeth are often subjected to acid attack and the saliva is unable to repair the enamel, holes will eventually form in the tooth.
Some medicines may cause dry mouth. If you are using these, you should consult your dentist or dental hygienist.
Older people are more likely to have caries than young people. This may be due to the fact that many elderly people take medicines that cause dry mouth. If you are older, it is also common for you to have exposed gums that are sensitive to acid attacks. In addition, many repairs are common, which can make it harder to keep your teeth clean.