What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay or dental caries, is the process that results in a cavity (dental caries). It occurs when bacteria in your mouth makes acids that dissolve the tooth structure. The bacteria only make these acids when they come into contact with sugar. If the decay is not treated it will continue to spread, damaging more of the tooth possibly causing pain, infection and tooth loss

What causes Tooth decay?

The combination of bacteria and food causes tooth decay. Plaque is a clear sticky substance containing bacteria that is always forming on the teeth. When you eat, the bacteria feed on the sugars in the food, making acids. These acids attack the teeth for 20 minutes or more after eating. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.

Preventing Tooth Decay

If you have a sensible diet, a good flow of saliva, a suitable cleaning routine and your teeth get an appropriate fluoride exposure, you are less likely to get decay. Here are some tips on how you can prevent dental decay:

  • Brushing your teeth thoroughly twice a day
  • Flossing or using Interdental aids daily
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste
  • Reduce sugar intake
  • Limit the frequency of sugar intake
  • Rinse your mouth with water after having sugary food or drinks
  • Use sugarless chewing gum
  • Have a regular dental check-up and clean
  • Get any cavities fixed early