How Healthy Teeth Help You to Stay Healthy


How Healthy Teeth Help You to Stay Healthy

By Susan Cruise

The relationship of the teeth to general health and efficiency was appreciated in a general way long before vitamins or focal infections had been heard of. Toothaches used to be as inevitable as colds; and slave buyers and horse traders inspected the teeth of their prospective purchases before buying. Continue reading "How Healthy Teeth Help You to Stay Healthy"

Dental Caries

dental caries in mandibular molar

Dental caries or tooth decay and periodontal disease are probably the most common chronic diseases in the world.

Although caries has affected humans since prehistoric times, the prevalence of this disease has greatly increased in modern times due to dietary changes.

However, evidence now indicates that this trend has begun to decline in many countries in the late 1970 and early 1980 and the decline was most notable in certain segments.


Dental Caries:

Dental Caries is an infectious microbiological disease of the teeth that results in localised dissolution and destruction of calcified tissues of the teeth.

dental caries
Advance stage of dental caries in upper first molar.

It is very important to understand that cavitations in teeth are the signs of bacterial infection in clinical practice and not the disease itself.

It is possible to lose sight of this fact and focus entirely on the restorative treatment of the carious legions thereby, failing to treat the underlying cause of the disease.

The evidence for the role of bacteria in the genesis of caries.

Overwhelming animals and human models have been used in an extensive series of studies leading to the following conclusions:

  1. Teeth free from bacterial infection either in germ free animals or un-erupted teeth in humans do not develop caries.
  2. Oral bacteria can demineralised the tooth in in-vitro and produce lesions similar to Naturally occurring caries.
  3. Specific bacteria can be isolated and identified from plaque over various carious lesions.

Although the role of bacterial activity in the genesis of carious lesion is well defined, establishing a cause and effect relationship between individual organism in the oral flora and caries has not been completely successful.

Oral bacteria do not occur as solitary colonies but as members of the complex community of many species contained as a massive tightly packed cells held together by the sticky matrix of polymer glucose known as "Dextran".


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Sturdvant's Art & Science of Operative Dentistry, 4th Edition.

Dental Caries: Facts You Should Know About Causative Bacteria

Some 200 to 300 species of bacteria, yeast, and even protozoa harbor the human oral cavity.

The metabolic activity of the complex community of the bacteria determines the presence or absence of the disease of the hard and soft issues of the human oral cavity.

It is very difficult to assess and say that a particular species of bacteria causes diseases of the oral cavity, but it has become very clear that a relatively small group of bacteria is primarily responsible for the two major oral diseases: dental  caries and periodontal disease.

There are two bacteria that are associated with the development of dental caries in humans.  They are:

  • Streptococcus mutans
  • Lactobacilli

Facts about cariogenic* bacteria:

  1. These two bacteria can produce huge amount of acid (acidogenic).
  2. They are tolerant of acidic environment (aciduric)
  3. They are vigorously stimulated by sucrose.


Streptococci are very strongly associated with the onset of caries whereas Lactobacilli are associated with the active progression of the cavitated lesions.

*The organisms that cause caries are known as “cariogenic”.

The degree to which a tooth is likely to become carious is described as its “cariogenicity potential”.


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Root Canal Treatment – RCT

Root canal treatment (RCT) is the treatment of the canal of a tooth. It is done once a tooth's pulpal vitality is in doubt or it has died. It is done to prevent the further progression of the disease to the peri-apical area, for example, peri-apical granuloma, cyst, or abscess.

Give few examples of the cases where RCT should be done

RCT will be done in the following situations:

After trauma to a tooth:

Suppose a person got a blow to the tooth in a road traffic accident. He/she did not have any problem during or within few days after the accident. But after 3-4 weeks, the tooth concerned started changing its color. From white, it became slight brown and then slowly gray to black.

It is a sign of pulp death that happened due to past trauma.

fractured tooth
Traumatic fracture of an upper front tooth.

At the time of accident, the arteries supplying the blood to the tooth got damaged and the tooth stopped getting it nutrients and slowly died. The dead pulp started releasing certain colors that resulted in the color change of that tooth.


Dental Caries:

A person that had carious tooth did not get proper treatment in time and the caries reached the pulp. Once it reached the pulp, it caused the pulp to die. The death of the pulp will cause pain in the advance stage.

dental caries
Advance stage of dental caries in upper first molar.

In both the above examples, the treatment will be root canal treatment.

But, doing a successful RCT depends on several factors, that only a dentist can decide. Un-necessary RCT is only a wastage of time and money. If in doubt, instead of going for RCT, the best treatment is to remove the tooth and get an artificial replacement.

Periodontitis or Periodontal Infection

Pulp of a tooth may get infected from the periodontal infection. The result will be same as of caries. The treatment involves not only RCT but necessitate the periodontal therapy for a complete success.


Click HERE to know about the procedure of RCT.

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