Preventing Tooth Decay

The reason we brush and floss is to remove plaque, a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Plaque is one of the main causes of tooth decay. Dentists use the word "caries" to describe tooth decay.

How does plaque cause tooth decay?

The bacteria in plaque react with sugar in the foods we eat to produce acids that can attack and weaken tooth enamel (the hard, protective covering on our teeth), opening the way for cavities to develop.

What is a cavity?

A cavity is the space inside a tooth that remains once decay is removed. There are three different places where a tooth can experience decay.

Biting Surface Tooth Decay Decay on the biting surfaces of the teeth occurs when plaque becomes trapped in the grooves. This is most common in children because they often miss these areas when brushing.

Decay Between The Teeth Decay between the teeth occurs when plaque is left to build up on these hard to reach surfaces. These areas cannot be reached by a toothbrush alone and may develop if you do not floss, or clean between your teeth, regularly.

Root Surface Decay Decay at the root surfaces of the teeth occurs if you have suffered gum recession or bone loss, often associated with Gum Disease, or periodontitis.

It is also more common as you get older because gums have started to recede.

If plaque is left to build up on the exposed roots of the teeth, which are not protected with enamel, then cavities will quickly develop.

How can I prevent cavities from developing?

Fortunately, you can easily prevent cavities from developing if you practice a proper oral care routine. Here is a checklist of must-doís:

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