Are you having difficulty chewing your food? Are your teeth becoming sensitive to hot or cold food?  If you have your head nodding, then you most probably are suffering from Dental Caries, commonly known as Tooth Decay.

Dental caries are erosions caused by bacteria, acids, plaque and tartar, and are common in both children and adults. When a cavity is small you might not experience any symptoms, however, as the hole gets bigger,you will experience tooth pain and sensitive teeth; develop holes or pits with stains in your teeth and feel a sharp pain when you bite or chew anything hard.

Causes of dental caries

The causes of dental caries can be anything from poor hygiene to a serious medical condition. Here are some common causes of dental caries in older folks.

1. Food habits: Eating certain kind of food like chocolate, sweet, ice cream and chips, can lead to dental caries. These foods tend to get stuck in the teeth, which causes the teeth to decay and cause cavity.

2. Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene and lack of flossing can lead to dental caries. It is important to brush at least twice a day and rinse your mouth as many times as possible.

3. Smoking and drinking: People who drink and smoke regularly develop dental caries. Tobacco is known to interfere with saliva production and alcohol harms the teeth leading to decay.

4. Dry mouth: Taking certain medicines can cause dry mouth, which can trigger dental problems. If there is low level of saliva production, it can cause dental caries.

Diagnosis and treatment of dental caries

Dental caries are diagnosed with the help of dental x-rays, Visual and tactile inspection along with radiographs. Early caries can be detected by blowing air on the surface of the tooth, this dries out the surface that will help the doctor inspect the tooth closely.

The treatment of dental caries depends on the severity of the problem. If the problem is detected in early stages, then your dentist might treat the tooth with a fluoride varnish application. If the decay has damaged the enamel of the tooth then filling, crowns and root canal treatment will be advised in order to save the tooth.

Dental caries can be prevented with good oral hygiene, which includes brushing, flossing and rinsing the mouth. Regular visits to the dentist should be scheduled every 6 months especially if you are over the age of 50, since your teeth are old and overused.