Dental problems are a chronic disease, the most common and frequent in the population, an important problem in Collective Health due to its high impact, especially in the low socioeconomic stratum, as well as the high cost of treatment. .

Vidal Alejandro Pomés, dental surgeon and professor at the Faculty of Dentistry of the Finis Terrae University, details the most frequent dental problems of Chileans.

1. Caries: It is a chronic multifactorial disease of microbial origin, characterized by the destruction of the hard tissues of the tooth. It begins with a demineralization of tooth enamel, the most superficial layer of the tooth, caused by acids that generate a set of organized bacteria called plaque. These take advantage of the food remains of our "civilized" diet, which is usually rich in carbohydrates contained in sweets, cookies and beverages, among others.

"After this initial attack and the superficial chemical type, the bacteria continue to invade the structures of the tooth, causing the destruction of the dentin, the tissue that penetrates deep into the enamel," explains Pomé.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health (Minsal), caries begins in the first years of life and shows a significant increase with age. At 2 years the prevalence of caries is 17.5%, at 4 years it is 49.6% and at 6 years, where there is mixed dentition, that is, temporary and definitive teeth, 70.4%. At age 12 it is 62.5% and increases to 99.4% in adults between 65 and 74 years.

Gingival and periodontal disease. Dr. Pomés points out that another of the dental problems that most Chileans consult is gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums caused mainly by bacterial plaque.

According to the academic, if this inflammation is not controlled, the process will continue with the periodontal disease, which has the same bacterial origin.

"Periodontal disease is characterized by the loss of tooth insertion, that is, the loss of tissues that retain the tooth inside the maxillary bones, which without treatment will lead to loss of teeth," says the Faculty professor. of Dentistry at the Finis Terrae University.

3. dentomaxillary abnormalities: They are anatomical and / or functional alterations that affect the harmonic relationship between dentomaxillary and / or skeletal of the oral cavity. According to Dr. Pomés, there are several factors associated, including a genetic component, lack of growth of one or both jaws, anomalies of number and size of teeth, premature loss of temporary teeth, interproximal caries, poor sucking habits and mouth breathing, among others.

4. Oral cancer: This is a disease that is characterized as a chronic and complex process. "The main risk factors are tobacco consumption, alcohol consumption and excessive exposure to the sun," warns Dr. Vidal Pomés.

Cases of oral cancer and pharynx, according to Minsal, represent 1.5% of total cancer cases in men and 0.7% in women.

The professor of the Faculty of Dentistry of the University Finis Terrae emphasizes that it is fundamental to seek strategies to promote the incorporation of healthy habits of oral hygiene and foods of the child population. "The transfer of dental health knowledge from the dentist to the educational team is critical. In addition, patients should periodically visit the dentist," he said.

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