How to prevent tooth decay
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused by the softening of the dental hard tissues by acids produced by plaque bacteria. Certain strains of bacteria found naturally in the mouth, converts sugars into these harmful acids.
Tooth decay can cause your teeth to rot and will eventually lead to toothache.
Can the process be reversed?
Yes but only at the early stages of tooth decay. Minerals found naturally in saliva can help remineralise the softened enamel before it breaches. Another benefit of saliva is that it helps neutralise these harmful acids and contain antibodies, which help fight harmful bacteria.
What can I do to prevent tooth decay?
- Brushing with fluoride toothpaste
- Reduce sugar
- Chew sugar free gum
Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste
Brushing at least twice a day helps remove plaque bacteria, which are coated on all surfaces of teeth. By reducing the amount of bacteria in your mouth, there is less acids produced by these harmful bacteria.
Brushing also removes any leftover food particles, which are stuck on your teeth and prevents them from converting into acids.
We recommend that all patients should use toothpaste with over 1000ppm of fluoride. Fluoride helps remineralise the enamel and also helps to prevent bacterial growth.
Sugar has been well documented to be the main cause of tooth decay. Without sugar, acids will not be formed by plaque bacteria to start the tooth decay process. Obviously it is impossible to avoid sugar completely because most food manufacturers add sugar to food and drink to make them taste better. We would recommend giving yourself a break from sugar every 4 hours to allow your teeth to remineralise.
Did you know in 1 serving of baked beans there is 4 teaspoons of sugar?
1 Digestive biscuit contains 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 small bottle of Robinson’s fruit shoot- No added sugar contains 6 teaspoons of sugar.
How will chewing gum help?
Chewing helps stimulate the release of saliva. Saliva will help neutralise acids formed by plaque bacteria.
Sugar free gum containing xylitol, a sweetener, does not break down like sugar and can help keep the pH neutral. Xylitol can also prevent bacteria from sticking to the surfaces of teeth.
How do we treat tooth decay?
Unfortunately if the tooth decay has breached the enamel surface, then a filling will have to be placed. We normally provide tooth coloured fillings, which are chemically bonded to your teeth.
For more advice regarding how to improve your oral health, why not book in for a consultation? Call us on 01782 782 520
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