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Dental disease is understood by most people to be either Tooth Decay (Dental Caries) or Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease).
Tooth Decay. This is the form of dental disease which affects the hard substance – enamel – of the tooth. It results in parts of the tooth being destroyed and if it not attended to by having the decay removed and replaced with a filling, then the tooth could eventually might need to be root treated or extracted.
Gum Disease. This is the form of dental disease which affects those structures which support the tooth in the jaw bone. It comprises the bone surrounding the tooth roots, the fibres by which the tooth root is suspended in the bone and it also includes the soft gum tissue that surrounds the tooth.
Tooth Decay (Dental Caries) starts when bacteria on the surface of the tooth react with sugar to produce acid which attacks the hard surface of the tooth – enamel – leaving microscopic pits in it. Bacteria invade these pits and the process of acid production can repeat itself over and over again with the resultant continuing destruction of tooth substance. The process of tooth decay can be represented by the equation
Bacteria + Sugar = Acid Production = Tooth Decay (Dental Caries)
Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease) starts when bacteria inhabiting the groove (sulcus) which exists between the gum tissue and the surface of the tooth, including the area between the teeth, react with sugar to produce toxins (poisons to healthy human tissue). These toxins cause the surrounding soft gum tissue to get inflamed and it swells. The swollen gum tissue houses more bacteria and the process of generating more toxins continues. The disease can progress to such a degree that the bone supporting the tooth becomes destroyed and the tooth becomes loose and may eventually have to be extracted. The process of gum disease can be represented by the equation Bacteria + Sugar = Toxin Production = Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease)
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