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What are cavities? What causes cavities in the tooth? – Part 4

• Tooth decay is generally known as cavities or even a cavity.
• It is deemed as an infection that is bacterial in origin.
• It causes demineralization and destruction of the hard tissues.

Causes for Cavities

4. Time
• The frequency with which the teeth have confronted cariogenic environments affects the probability of caries development.
• After meals or snacks, the bacteria from the mouth metabolize sugar.
• It decreases the pH.
• As time progresses, the pH returns to normal due to buffering capacity of saliva as well as the dissolved mineral content of tooth surfaces.
• During every experience of the acidic environment, portions of the inorganic mineral content with the surface of teeth dissolve.
• This may remain dissolved for about two hours.
• Since teeth are vulnerable during these acidic periods, the roll-out of tooth decay depends on the frequency of acid exposure.
• The carious process may start within times of a tooth’s erupting in the mouth if it is sufficiently containing more suitable carbohydrates.
• Evidence suggests that the creation of fluoride treatments have slowed the procedure.
• Proximal caries take typically four years to feed enamel in permanent teeth.
• As the cementum enveloping the fundamental surface is just not as durable as the enamel encasing the crown.
• Root caries tends to progress quicker when compared to decay on other surfaces.
• The progression and loss of mineralization about the root surface is twice more faster than caries in enamel.
• Many times when good oral cleaning is extremely poor and where the diet is filled with fermentable carbohydrates, caries could potentially cause cavities within months of tooth eruption.
• This is, for example, when children continuously drink sugary drinks from baby bottles.

5. Other Risk Factors
• Reduced saliva is assigned to increased caries.
• This is because buffering of saliva does not counterbalance the acidic environment that is manufactured by food products.
• Health conditions that reduce the quantity of saliva that is generated by salivary glands will likely lead to widespread cavities.
• These glands are for example the mandibular gland and parotid gland.

The conditions of reduced saliva are such as:
– Sjogren’s syndrome
– Diabetes mellitus
– Diabetes insipidus
– Sarcoidosis
• Medications, like antihistamines and antidepressants, may also impair salivary flow.
• Stimulants like methylamphetamine, also occlude the flow of saliva a extreme degree.
• Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active element in cannabis, also results in a nearly complete occlusion of salivation.
• This is known in colloquial terms as “cotton mouth”.
• Moreover, 63% of the commonly used and prescribed medications in the US have xerostomia as a side-effect.
• Actinotherapy in the head and neck could also damage the body in salivary glands.
• This increases the odds of caries formation.
• The use of tobacco also can increase the risk for caries formation.
• Some brands of smokeless tobacco contain high sugar content.
• This increases inclination towards caries.
• Tobacco use is a significant risk factor for periodontal disease.
• In this case it may cause the gingiva to recede.
• Because the gingiva loses attachment to the teeth, the foundation surface grows more visible inside mouth.
• Root caries is usually a concern as the cementum in the roots of teeth is demineralized easily by acids when compared to enamel.
• Currently, there isn’t enough evidence to guide a causal relationship between smoking and coronal caries.
• Evidence does suggest a relationship between smoking and root-surface caries.
• Intrauterine and neonatal lead exposure promotes caries.
• Besides lead, cadmium exposure may promote caries.

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