Cause, Prevention, and Treatment for Tooth Cavities

Cause, Prevention, and Treatment for Tooth Cavities

Mar 01, 2022

Cavities have been affecting people ever since the beginning of time. Before modern dentistry, people believed that worms from inside the teeth caused cavities. This theory spread, and people accepted it around the world. However, advancement in dental medicine proved that tooth worms are a myth.

Dental plaque is the cause of tooth decay. Plaque consists of bacteria, saliva, food particles, and acids. As plaque builds up, it usually erodes the outer layer of your teeth, leading to tooth decay. The result is cavities, also called dental caries.

Origin Of the Myth Connecting Worms and Tooth Decay

The concept dates back to as far as 5000 B.C. Tooth worms have been listed as the cause of tooth decay in a Sumerian text from this time.

Ancient Chinese scripts from 1500 B.C. also mention tooth worms. The script describes a tooth worm attacking the mouth and teeth.

Generally, the worms were said to gnaw the teeth, causing decay. However, people believed that the worms existed in cavities and gums.

People believe in tooth worms due to several reasons. Potential theories include:

Henbane Seed Treatment

In medieval England, burned henbane seeds were the treatment for tooth worms. Henbane is a plant used for medicinal purposes.During the treatment, a person with a cavity had to inhale the fumes of the heated seeds.

Since the plant has some narcotic properties that relieve tooth pain, people believed that the worms died, supporting their belief.

Water Infected with Guinea Worms

People saw guinea worms in infected water. In addition, Guinea worms live on cyclopoid crustaceans,  often found in drinking wells.

People using or drinking well water might have witnessed the guinea worm expelling baby worms.

Worm-like Structures in the Teeth

Cylindrical structures in human teeth id another possible reason.

Research carried out at the University of Maryland Dental School showed that tiny hollow worm-like structures are attached to the tubules in a human tooth. However, scientists have not completely understood what they are; ancient people might have mistaken them to be worms.

Other Myths About Cause of Cavity

People have also believed that cavities were caused by;

  • Chemical agents
  • Sudden t temperature changes
  • Mechanical injuries
  • Detective saliva
  • Inflammation of alveolar bone

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Modern dentistry has revealed the actual cause of the cavity.

Food substances, saliva, and bacteria combine to form plaque which accumulates on your tooth enamel. Tooth decay begins when sugars and starches remain in the teeth for long. Then, as the bacteria in the plague is eating starchy and sugary food, acids are formed.

These acids are the ones that erode your enamel, the hard outer layer of your tooth forming cavities. Over time, the bacteria and acids erode your tooth and start to erode the dentin, the middle part of your tooth. At this point, infections begin to develop, causing swelling and tooth pain.

Prevention Of Cavities

Maintaining good oral hygiene plays a significant role in preventing cavities’ formation. Methods of maintaining oral hygiene include:

  • Rinsing with mouthwash.
  • Flossing at least once a day.
  • Brushing your teeth twice a day.
  • Vising a dentist twice a year for checkups and cleaning.
  • Using fluoride treatments (when recommended by a dentist).
  • Limiting sipping and snacking on sugary drinks.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which will aid in the removal of plaque.
  • Switching to an electric toothbrush for effectiveness during brushing.

Treatment For Cavity

Cavity treatment depends on the stage of development of the cavity. Your dentist will usually evaluate the cavity and identify the correct treatment option. In severe cases, these options include fluoride treatment (which aids with enamel restoration), filling, crowns, root canal, and extraction.

Call to Action

At Fox Creek Dental by Espire Broomfield, our dedication is to ensure that you maintain healthy teeth for you and your family. So book an appointment with us or visit our office. Our dentist near you is highly trained and will give you a dental exam to determine what problem you might be having.

They will look at your teeth, identify any cavity forming and treat it accordingly, avoiding more damage to your tooth. You will also get to know any possible problems in the future.

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