Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Dental Caries

By: Seahawks Gal

Most people do not know what the word caries means. Dental Caries is another word for tooth decay or cavities. In the United States children between the ages of 6-19, with untreated dental caries was 16.2% during the years 2005-2008, and for adults over the age of 19 with untreated dental caries that were untreated were 23.7%. Dental Caries is a currently huge problem in the United States. Many people have a lack of knowledge, along with not caring or taking proper care of their teeth. Dental caries is one of the most common diseases seen in the human body second to the common cold. There must be more education taught to try and prevent this problem. 

Dental caries is a clinical term for tooth decay. Dental caries starts as buildup of plaque that is formed by tiny bacteria and food particles built up on the tooth surface. Bacteria adhere to the tooth surface in a biofilm called dental plaque. The two main types of bacteria responsible for most tooth decay is Streptococcus Mutans and Lactobacillus. A professor at a University says "Teeth become susceptible to decay when the enamel is softened.”(Academic Onefile) Although there are different types of bacteria that cause tooth decay there are several ways to both treat it and prevent it.

I didn’t realize how serious of a problem tooth decay was in this country until I went to school for dental assisting ten years ago. After working in both pediatric dentistry as well as oral surgery I have seen some of the worst cases both in children as well as adults. I have also seen firsthand how quickly tooth decay can develop and how bad it can get in a short amount of time. Dental caries is a topic that more people need to be aware of and more education needs to be provided about it.

Statistics show that only 56.8% of women and 49% of men actually follow the ADA recommended guidelines and brush their teeth twice a day, along with flossing once a day and using fluoridated mouth wash. I have seen severe dental decay in children as young as 10 months and if not taken care of and prevented this can lead to a life time of dental problems. “Among 4-year-olds in 2005, approximately 37 percent of children had at least one decayed baby tooth. On average, there were 
1.84 decayed, missing or filled baby teeth, of which 84 percent comprised of untreated dental decay.”

Tooth Decay-Treatment Overview

Starting at the age of about one when a child gets their first teeth it is vital to start good oral hygiene. Children should be seen by a Pedodontist as soon as they get their first tooth and continue to see a dentist every six months for regular checkups, cleaning and x rays. At the child’s first dental appointment their dentist will cover proper nutrition, proper brushing technique, oral habits as well as any concerns the parent may have. (Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist) Children should also have help with brushing until about the age of eight or when they can write cursive because before that they lack the ability to reach all areas that need to be brushed properly. (“What Is Good Oral Hygiene?") It is essential that parents make it a priority to teach their children good dental habits when they are young, so they are able to continue with good oral hygiene throughout their adult lives.

Untreated tooth decay can lead to a lot of more serious problems. A simple cavity that may just need a filling, if left un treated can lead to needing a root canal which involves removing the nerves from the tooth just like you would in trying to kill a tree. This process is one option to try and save the tooth. Another option is a crown placed over the tooth, or even extraction of the tooth. Also if dental caries is left untreated it can lead to the tooth becoming infected which can spread to other parts of the body through the blood stream. As we can see dental decay is nothing to mess around with as it can be very serious.

As we can see tooth decay also known as dental Caries is a very serious problem. This is a problem that affects people all over the world on a day to day basis. Dental decay can be easily prevented with the use of good oral hygiene. If a person does develop dental decay they need to make sure it is properly taken care of as soon as possible to avoid further problems. Simple steps can be taken to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best. With the proper knowledge and resources there should be no excuse for so many people to be living with dental decay which is both unattractive as well a painful and dangerous.

Work Cited

Aarow Peter, Raheb Joseph, Miller Margret. “Brief oral health promotion intervention among parents of young children to reduce early childhood dental decay.” BMC Public Health. 20 March. 2014. Academic Onefile . Web. 08 Feb. 2016

Edelstein Burton. “New approach needed to reduce caries in children” Public Health Reports. July-August 1997.Web. Academic Onefile. 08. Feb 2016

"Foods and Drinks Best for Your Teeth." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.

Journal of family health care. “Early Nutrition and Dental Health” June. 2009. Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd. Web. Acedemic Onefile. 09. Feb. 2016.

"Tooth Decay-Treatment Overview." WebMD. WebMD, 10 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

"Your Child's First Visit to the Dentist." WebMD. WebMD, 04 Jan. 2014. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.

"What Is Good Oral Hygiene?" Oral Hygiene Basics. N.p., n.d. Feb. 10 Feb. 2016.


  1. Hello Seahawks Gal,
    I really enjoyed the flow of your post. I think there is an excellent balance of both epidemiology/statistics & physical explanation. The post is great just the way it is but since you did recommend an increase in overall education to reduce the frequency of dental caries, perhaps you might talk about current programs that are in place that are trying to educate individuals. I know that everyone has differences in dental makeup (harder enamel vs. softer enamel) that can predispose them to dental caries but has any research been conducted that finds certain populations or races to be more susceptible?

    Excellent post overall and I appreciate that you decided to write about something that has become so “normal” in society and reiterated the importance of prevention.


  2. I have found that typically, Hispanic subgroups and those with lower incomes have more severe decay in permanent teeth and Black and Hispanic subgroups and those with lower incomes have more untreated permanent teeth.Also those with softer enamel also have a higher risk as well.