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.
Prevention AT HOME
- Keep plaque low with good tooth cleaning twice a day (brushing morning & night; flossing at night)
- 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.
- Strengthen teeth by using fluoridated toothpaste. Use fluoride mouthwash if advised by dentist (usually from 6 years of age).
Prevention AT THE DENTIST
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