Dental caries is one of the most common childhood diseases, affecting up to 80% of all individuals at some stage of their lives.
It is a debilitating and painful condition which impacts on mastication, speech, aesthetics and psychosocial behaviour.
The prevalence of caries in South African children is around 40% and almost half of this burden goes untreated.
The end results are pain, swelling and abscess formation, all of which have negative effects on aspects of the lives of the patients.
Although dental caries is preventable, the prevalence continues to remain relatively high.
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This paper discusses the spread of caries and some of the methods by which it can be reduced and/or prevented.
Dental caries (DC) can be defined as the localized destruction of dental hard tissues due to acidic by-products arising from bacterial fermentation of dietary carbohydrates.
Although DC is one of the most common preventable childhood diseases, individuals and communities are susceptible to the disease throughout their lifetime.
DC is classified according to the site of the tooth on which it occurs (occlusal, interproximal and root) and the number of teeth it affects (rampant or localized).
Authors : A Bhayat / TK Madiba