Video: The Host
Hello and welcome to dentalcare.com's cariology course that focuses this time on the host. This is part three of a 10 part series entitled Caries Process and Prevention Strategies. It's been established that a host must be present for caries to develop. In this course, three host factors, the tooth, saliva, and the oral cavity's immune response are introduced, and the roles in the caries process are explained. One of the things we'd like to do first is to go over a clinical significant snapshots. This is the kind of question you're likely to have with respect to the host itself in your practice. The question here, in managing patients at risk of dental caries, is how should I approach managing host factors in the caries process? The two tissues of the host affected by dental caries are the enamel and the dentin. In young persons enamel is the main tissue that's affected, as no dentin is exposed directly to the oral cavity.
Later in life, when gingival recession has exposed the roots of the teeth, dentin becomes exposed to the oral cavity. So as the first line of defense, it's important to protect the enamel and try to prevent gingival recession. First, saliva bathes all tissues exposed to the oral cavity. In healthy individuals, there is an adequate flow or quantity of this fluid. It helps flush away cariogenic foods and the fluid is saturated with respect to calcium, which reduces demineralization and encourages remineralization. The effects of medication are the most common problem that leads to a lack of saliva. Many prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and some recreational drugs reduce the flow of saliva and cause xerostomia or dry mouth. In cases of dry mouth, caries and erosion are highly prevalent. It's important that the dental professional checks for adequate quantity and quality of saliva and consults with the patient's physician if necessary.