What prevents rotten teeth

rotten teeth

"Rotten teeth" - this is a slang term for dental caries. The medical term is Caries dentium. This name fits the problem exactly, because the translation of the Latin word caries is rottenness or putrefaction.

This oral disease very often triggers toothache in an untreated course, and it can also lead to more far-reaching consequences. Tooth enamel and dentin are particularly affected.

When do you talk about rotten teeth?

Caries dentium - this medical term conceals a disease of the oral cavity, which is popularly referred to as "rotten teeth". The term may seem rather casually chosen, but it hits the heart of the suffering. In addition, it gives the exact translation of the Latin term "caries", because this means nothing other than rottenness or rot.

Causes: How do rotten teeth develop?

Tooth decay is caused by bacteria. These get into the mouth in a variety of ways, which offers them optimal living conditions through warmth and moisture. One form of transmission is from person to person, for example through kisses or the sharing of cutlery. Once the bacteria are in the mouth, they begin to break down food residues on the teeth. They excrete plaque as a metabolic product.

This is dental plaque, which attacks the teeth on a chemical basis and robs them of their stability.

Once the bacteria are in the mouth, they begin to break down food residues on the teeth. They excrete plaque as a metabolic product. This is dental plaque that attacks the teeth on a chemical basis and robs them of their stability.

Symptoms: how do you recognize rotten teeth?

Teeth affected by tooth decay can trigger a wide variety of symptoms. Initially, only white spots can be seen on the tooth surface, which can darken and in the long run no longer feel as smooth as the rest of the tooth surface. At some point a hole appears in the tooth, which in turn causes toothache.

As the destruction progresses, the holes increase and can then also affect the entire tooth envelope. Rotten teeth can also be recognized by their strong discoloration in yellow, brown or black. In the advanced stage, an unpleasant smell and taste spreads in the mouth. Other organ systems can also be damaged by rotten teeth, including the heart and bones.

Course of the development of caries and rotten teeth

Initial caries

After plaque-causing bacteria have entered the oral cavity and caused plaque there, the decomposition of the tooth surface begins. In detail, one takes place, which is a decalcification of the tooth. The mineral calcium phosphate is released from the tooth enamel in a chemical process and is lost.

The process takes place on almost every tooth. But in healthy teeth, the dissolved amount of minerals is only small and is returned by the saliva. Through targeted remineralization, i.e. the return of the missing minerals, the process can be reversed even if it was caused by tooth decay. This stage is called initial caries.

Superficial caries

Without remineralization, the caries progresses and leads to a permanent, initially still superficial destruction of the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth, which is also the hardest substance in the human body. The technical term for this stage is superficial caries. "Superficialis" is the Latin expression for superficial.

Caries media

In the next stage, the tooth decay affects the dentin, a slightly softer layer of the tooth that is usually protected by the enamel. There is now a hole in the tooth. There may be pain. One speaks here of dental caries or caries media. "Media" concerns the middle.

If the dentin layer is destroyed to 60% in the direction of the tooth pulp, a simple caries treatment at the dentist is usually no longer sufficient. Root canal treatment is often done because the tooth causes severe pain. This is how dentures can still be prevented. This stage is called Caries profunda, which means something like "deep putrefaction".

Caries profunda

In the last stage, the caries has reached the deep-seated and very sensitive tooth nerve. The tooth is completely destroyed and a very unpleasant odor slowly spreads in the mouth. The technical term for this is stage of penetrating tooth decay or caries penetrans. "Penetrans" is the Latin word for pervasive.

What can you do about rotten teeth?

The method of choice is prevention. Those who take good care of their teeth do not have to undergo any complex and sometimes unpleasant caries treatment. In the case of demineralized tooth enamel, remineralization can be achieved using gels, pastes or preparations containing fluoride.

Should the notorious hole in the tooth arise, you should get help from your dentist quickly. He will remove the carious tissue under anesthesia and close the tooth again using suitable materials.

If there is inflammation of the surrounding tissue or after a root canal treatment, he prescribes medication. If you suffer from tooth decay, you should not unnecessarily delay your visit to the dentist. Make an appointment in our office hour! We like to help you!

What does the health insurance company cover for the treatment?

The removal of a tooth decay is generally covered by the health insurance companies. Only if dentures are necessary or a special filling is required by the patient, the cost contribution is made. The cash registers cover the costs of the cheapest filling material as well as tooth-colored plastic fillings in the visible front area.

How can you preventively protect yourself against rotten teeth?

Adequate oral hygiene protects against tooth decay. Anyone who eats a balanced diet that is as low in sugar as possible, brushes their teeth twice a day and uses dental floss once a day is already very well protected. The health insurance companies undertake a routine check-up twice a year. Professional teeth cleaning also helps prevent tooth decay, as it cleans the tooth surfaces even more thoroughly than a toothbrush


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Last update of this page on November 26th, 2020 by author Dr. Frank Seidel.

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