Dental caries is a multifactorial disease caused by host, agent, and environmental factors. Mutans streptococci (MS) is the primary etiologic agent of dental caries. Through adhesion, MS attaches to the dental pellicle and breaks down sugars for energy to produce lactic acid, causing an acidic environment around the tooth. As a result, demineralization of the enamel and, subsequently, the dentin occurs. Factors involved in the dental caries process include the tooth, bacteria in the form of a dental plaque, and a diet containing sugar. The quantity, quality, and frequency of sugar intake have a definitive influence on the incidence and prevalence of caries.
Dental caries can affect the human in various ways i.e. presence of tooth pain, infection or dysfunction of the stomatognathic system can limit the necessary ingestion of energetic foods, affecting the growth in children and adults as well as their learning, communication skills and recreational activities. Moreover, oral and pharyngeal cancers and oral tissue lesions are also significant health concern. Cavernous sinus thrombosis and Ludwig angina can be life-threatening. Due to this, treatment is needed for dental diseases which cost is normally high and is not feasible for all community due to limited resources such as time, person and money. Therefore, prevention is more affordable. Personal hygiene cares and dietary modification should be recommended.
Past caries experience, current caries index, oral hygiene measures such as the use of fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse, calculus deposit, deep pits and fissures, MS level, snacking habits, and salivary flow may all help assess individual caries risk and predict dental caries progression. These factors should be considered in deciding whether preventive measures should be taken or restorative treatment is necessary.
The goal of treatment is to preserve tooth structures and prevent further destruction of the tooth. Aggressive treatment, by filling, of incipient carious lesions, places where there is superficial damage to the enamel, is controversial as they may heal themselves, while once a filling is performed it will eventually have to be redone and the site serves as a vulnerable site for further decay.
Despite the advancements in dental caries detection and prevention, it is still a common infectious disease. Even with recent dental caries research, most clinical practice is still based on treating the disease by restorative treatment once it is detected, rather than on prevention. Future education and clinical research efforts should continue to emphasize early detection and caries prevention.
Dental caries is associated with several diseases including:
Eating disorders (EDs) are associated with the highest rates of morbidity and mortality of any mental disorders among adolescents. The failure to recognize their early signs can compromise a patient's recovery and long-term prognosis. Tooth erosion (TE) has been reported as an oral manifestation that might help in the early detection of eating disorders.
TE is a complex and multifactorial condition characterized by a progressive and irreversible loss of tooth structure due to a chemical process without bacterial involvement. It is clinically detectable as thinner enamel with chamfered ridges, cupped cusp tips and grooved incisal edges, sometimes with dentine exposure.