Why is decay so bad?
Once the decay process has started it continues until it is removed. The further the decay continues the larger the cavity in the tooth. The larger the cavity in the tooth the weaker the tooth is long-term even with a restoration. If the decay continues through the enamel and the dentine and reaches the pulp, the nerve will be affected and start to die off. This results in pain for the patient and root canal treatment or extraction being the only two options available if this occurs.
What Causes decay?
Decay (clinically referred to by dentists as caries) is the process of destruction of enamel and dentine of the tooth by acid produced by bacteria in the mouth fuelled by sucrose(sugar).
Bacteria adhere to the teeth in a layer form known as plaque.
Therefore the main two things needed for the decay process to occur are plaque (bacteria biofilm) and sucrose (sugar)
To prevent decay
To prevent decay we have to minimise sugar intake and frequency and remove thoroughly plaque containing bacteria.
Review your diet. Reduce frequency of snacking and intake of any sugary drinks. Especially sports drinks/smoothies/energy drinks and sugar in tea and coffee.
Plaque removal: Brush well 2 times per day and floss daily. Flossibg cleans the 30% of tooth surface not accessed by the brush.
Get the teeth cleaned by your dentist every 6 months to remove the plaque that you can’t access or that has hardened and is difficult to clean off.
Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash. Fluoride if the one ingredient that can reverse early decay.
If you have decay
It is important to see you dentist for regular check ups to catch any decay in its earliest form when the cavity is at its smallest to minimise tooth destruction and to keep filling sizes to a minimum.