Causes of Dental Caries
Dental fillings repair cavities but don’t address the underlying cause. Cavities are a symptom of dental caries, a type of oral bacterial infection. It is a prevalent condition across all age groups. For many people, it is a chronic disease. Dr. Mark Cruz, of Dana Point, focuses on helping patients achieve and maintain optimal oral health, which means understanding and addressing the risk factors for caries.
Caries begins with biofilm
The mouth is host to millions of microorganisms, which colonize into a sticky layer. Known as biofilm, it is present even in the healthiest mouth. Current scientific research indicates that dental caries results from a malfunction of biofilm, specifically a pH imbalance.
An acidic oral environment reduces beneficial bacteria. However, pathogenic bacteria associated with dental caries thrive in this environment. They also create acid as a by-product of metabolizing or digesting food. That means once dental caries begins, it creates its own ideal environment, which explains why it is difficult to stop. This high-acid environment also hastens the breakdown of tooth structure, and slows the remineralization process, leading to cavities.
Understanding oral pH
You may be wondering why you would have a pH imbalance in your mouth in the first place. Answering that question is the key to controlling and preventing dental caries. There are many factors involved, and each person is unique. Poor nutrition, infrequent oral hygiene, and excess snacking commonly contribute to the problem. However, other lifestyle factors, medical conditions, medications, chronic dry mouth, and many other issues play a role.
Dr. Cruz utilizes a risk assessment system known as CAMBRA (Caries Management By Risk Assessment), which enables him to offer you a range of individualized treatments. If you want to know your caries risk level and management options, call our office at (949) 661-1006 and schedule an evaluation.