Dental Cavities Animation

There are four main criteria required for caries formation: a tooth surface (enamel or dentin); caries-causing bacteria; fermentable carbohydrates (such as sucrose); and time.The caries process does not have an inevitable outcome, and different individuals will be susceptible to different degrees depending on the shape of their teeth, oral hygiene habits, and the buffering capacity of their saliva. Dental caries can occur on any surface of a tooth which is exposed to the oral cavity, but not the structures which are retained within the bone.
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Teeth

There are certain diseases and disorders affecting teeth which may leave an individual at a greater risk for caries. Amelogenesis imperfecta, which occurs between 1 in 718 and 1 in 14,000 individuals, is a disease in which the enamel does not fully form or forms in insufficient amounts and can fall off a tooth. In both cases, teeth may be left more vulnerable to decay because the enamel is not able to protect the tooth.


In most people, disorders or diseases affecting teeth are not the primary cause of dental caries. Ninety-six percent of tooth enamel is composed of minerals.These minerals, especially hydroxyapatite, will become soluble when exposed to acidic environments. Enamel begins to demineralize at a pH of 5.5. Dentin and cementum are more susceptible to caries than enamel because they have lower mineral content. Thus, when root surfaces of teeth are exposed from gingival recession or periodontal disease, caries can develop more readily. Even in a healthy oral environment, however, the tooth is susceptible to dental caries.

The anatomy of teeth may affect the likelihood of caries formation. Where the deep grooves of teeth are more numerous and exaggerated, pit and fissure caries are more likely to develop. Also, caries are more likely to develop when food is trapped between teeth.



Bacteria


The mouth contains a wide variety of bacteria, but only a few specific species of bacteria are believed to cause dental caries: Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli among them. Lactobacillus acidophilus, Actinomyces viscosus, Nocardia spp., and Streptococcus mutans are most closely associated with caries, partiuclarly root caries. Bacteria collect around the teeth and gums in a sticky, creamy-coloured mass called plaque, which serves as a biofilm. Some sites collect plaque more commonly than others. The grooves on the biting surfaces of molar and premolar teeth provide microscopic retention, as does the point of contact between teeth. Plaque may also collect along the gingiva. In addition, the edges of fillings or crowns can provide protection for bacteria, as can intraoral appliances such as orthodontic braces or removable partial dentures.


Fermentable carbohydrates

Bacteria in a person's mouth convert glucose, fructose, and most commonly sucrose (table sugar) into acids such as lactic acid through a glycolytic process called fermentation.If left in contact with the tooth, these acids may cause demineralization, which is the dissolution of its mineral content. The process is dynamic, however, as remineralization can also occur if the acid is neutralized by saliva or mouthwash. Fluoride toothpaste or dental varnish may aid remineralization.a If demineralization continues over time, enough mineral content may be lost so that the soft organic material left behind disintegrates, forming a cavity or hole.

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