What is tooth decay?
|Tooth decay is caused by the loss of minerals like calcium and phosphate from your tooth surface (also referred to as “demineralisation”).
Demineralisation is a result of acids produced by the bacteria on tooth surfaces attacking your tooth enamel.
Cavities are caused by prolonged demineralisation.
An early sign of demineralisation may appear as a white spot on the tooth. At this stage, lost minerals may be replaced with the help of fluoride. If minerals continue to be lost, a hole (cavity) forms in the tooth and a filling is required to repair the damage.
Tooth decay occurs on the chewing surfaces, the surfaces between the teeth and around fillings. When gums recede decay can also occur on the root surfaces of teeth.
Tooth Decay Prevention
- Remove plaque thoroughly from all tooth surfaces by daily toothbrushing and flossing/interdental brushing.
- Use a toothpaste with appropriate level of fluoride, twice daily.
- Use a soft or medium toothbrush. Brush in a set pattern, making sure that you don’t miss any teeth. Ask our hygienist for a lesson on how this should be done.
- Use floss or interdental brushes to clean between the teeth, where cavities can often develop.
- Reduce your sugar intake – especially between meals
- If you suffer from a dry mouth, possibly due to medication, talk to us about appropriate care.
- Have regular dental check-ups to make sure that your dental hygiene is up to scratch.
For more information on tooth decay and how you can prevent it;
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