How to Prevent Tooth Decay

Tooth decay can only occur if…
Plaque (source of bacteria) + Sugar – combine to create acid which then dissolves the outer part of the tooth (enamel). Once a cavity starts it can progress rapidly – especially if there is lots of plaque and sugar around!

The good news is that there is a lot we can do both at home and in the dental surgery to stop this happening.

Tooth cavity

Prevention AT HOME

  1. Keep plaque low with good tooth cleaning twice a day (brushing morning & night; flossing at night)
  2. Keep sugar intake low.
  • Choose “healthy” foods and drinks. Water is the best and safest drink for teeth.
  • Choose “treats” that are tooth friendly; e.g. chocolate NOT sticky sweets like Skittles, Haribos, Polo-Mints etc.

Remember: the longer sugar contacts teeth (e.g. sticky toffee) and the more often sugar is taken – the higher the risk of tooth decay.

  1. Strengthen teeth by using fluoridated toothpaste. Use fluoride mouthwash if advised by dentist (usually from 6 years of age).


Regular dental visits greatly help to reduce the risk of tooth decay by…

  • Professional tooth cleaning – removing tartar / stains / plaque
  • Professional Fluoride – concentrated gels – varnish
  • Fissure sealants – as required
  • Periodic x-rays as needed to help detect problems early
Baby boy