Up to 2.3 billion people suffer from tooth decay, which is about 32 % of all people on Earth. Tooth decay is mainly associated with poor people who do not have access to proper oral hygiene. However, this cannot be said about the Czech Republic, where up to 80 % of people encounter tooth decay during their lives! So, what causes tooth decay? Why do our teeth go bad?
Tooth decay is caused by an acid that dissolves hard tooth tissue. This acid is produced by bacteria when food residues, especially sugars, are converted on the tooth surface. Simple sugars are the primary food of these bacteria, which is why teeth spoil the fastest after them. Thus, tooth decay is affected by the amount of sugar in a food, the frequency of such food and the length of time the bacteria works. Unfortunately, simple sugars intake is nowadays not seen as a big problem, which further contributes to tooth decay. Sugar intake is even supported by marketing campaigns and sugar is adding artificially to a large part of meals, even where we would not naturally expect it.
Tooth decay is caused by a number of factors, among which we can name
- bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans
- intake of simple sugars
- insufficient oral hygiene
- insufficient prevention
- frequency and duration of exposure of teeth to the adverse environment
- disease or disorder (insufficient salivation, thin tooth enamel, etc.)
Dental caries can be prevented, especially by a diet that does not contain simple sugars, proper tooth cleaning, fluoride intake (usually contained in toothpaste, among other things), the use of dental floss and regular visits to the dentist. The use of mouthwash is controversial. Due to its positives and negatives, mouthwash is not generally recommended, but it is not forbidden either.