Tooth Decay or Caries the dental term for decay is the stage when the surface of the tooth becomes destroyed. Early stages of Caries are only visible to your dentist and that is why we suggest that you visit the dentist at least every 6 months (twice a year). Tooth Decay can be present without any pain.
What causes tooth decay?
Our mouths contain millions of bacteria. This bacterium then builds up on the teeth and gums relatively quickly and multiplies forming a soft layer called plaque, the plaque bacteria then feeds on the sugar in the food and drink that we consume this produces cavity causing acids. The acids begin to attack and gradually dissolve the hard outer coating of the tooth – the enamel. Frequent consumption of these sugars without cleaning them away will eventually break down the enamel to the point where a cavity (hole) will appear.
Sugar isn’t the only contributing factor of tooth decay, reduced production of saliva can also lead to the decay of teeth, saliva is our bodies way of protecting the mouth by neutralising the acids produced by plaque bacteria. Anything that reduces the supply or amount of saliva can lead to decay. Teeth with fillings or crowned teeth can also be at risk from cavities as the edges are vulnerable to acid attack. Wearing dentures, bridges and orthodontic appliances can make brushing the teeth difficult so more attention needs to be paid in these areas.
How do I avoid tooth decay?
- Avoid sugary snacks and drinks between meals.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day.
- Visit your dentist regularly and if you feel you have a problem contact us.
- Follow guidance suggested by the dentist
- Special brushes may help
If you have any concerns come speak to your dentist