Caries is a a condition that is usually referred to as tooth decay in humans. It occurs when plaque or bacteria gets stuck to the tooth surface area. The sugar in foods and also in our saliva adhere along with the bacteria on our teeth, the bacteria can then break down the sugar to feed on whilst producing a byproduct acid which breaks down the tooth as it dissolves the outer enamel which exposures dentine and in severe cases the pulp of the tooth which causes the sufferer a lot of pain, especially whilst eating or chewing.
The majority of symptoms for this condition are the general discomfort of the animal. Under examination you may see the discoloration of the tooth where the bacteria has affected it. Defects in the teeth like con-caving or denting can potentially show long term caries.
Like Periodontal Disease, the major causes of this type of disease is Plaque and Tartar. These are layers of bacteria and/or food that adhere to the teeth and gums of an animals. This allows a surface for bacteria to break down food (Sugars/Simple Carbohydrates) on which produces a byproduct acid which breaks down the teeth. Plaque and Tartar can spread fast and is not always clearly visible.
With large caries fillings may be suitable but for more seriously progressed cases the tooth may need complete root canal treatment to save the tooth. Failing this in worst cases the tooth may require extraction.
As with Periodontal Disease, the easiest way to prevent Caries is based on good dieting for the animal along with regular oral care and check-ups. Diets that contain a lot of natural foods for the animal will exercise the jaw and the teeth which allows for a sort of abrasive action which can remove the top layer of bacteria. Also natural food often has a considerably lower Carbohydrate and Sugar content compared to regular animal food which contributes greatly to decay of the teeth. failing this a dental health orientated food supplement for the animal will help cut down on oral bacteria's. For dogs, foods like mouth chews exercise the mouth and can produce saliva which help fight the bacteria.
Another useful thing is to closely examine the animals teeth on a frequent basis. This allows you to notice disease earlier on which means a more effective treatment, regular visits to veterinary centers for oral examinations will help also. Even something as simple as brushing your animals teeth a few times will greatly cut the risk.