Caries prevention program

Dental caries is a pathologic process that causes the destruction of the dental tissues and produces complications. It is one of the most widespread diseases in the civilized populations.

The early manifestation of the caries process is a small patch of demineralised (softened) enamel at the tooth surface, often hidden from sight in the fissures of teeth or in between the teeth. The destruction spreads into the softer, sensitive part of the tooth beneath the enamel (dentine). The weakened enamel then collapses to form a cavity and the tooth is progressively destroyed. Caries can also attack the roots of teeth should they become exposed by gum recession.

The prevention of dental caries can be approached in the following ways:

Fluoride is a substance that naturally occurs in some water sources. It is derived from fluorine, the thirteenth most common element on earth, and is known to help prevent dental caries.

There is overwhelming evidence that frequent consumption of sugars is associated with caries. Dietary advice should be aimed at limiting the frequency of sugar intake.

Pit and fissure sealants are a safe and effective way to prevent dental caries on these vulnerable surfaces. Pit and fissure sealants create a thin barrier preventing the access of plaque and plaque acids to the enamel surface.