Tooth decay and erosion are common oral health issues, and these problems can affect people at any age. Whilst high consumption of sugary food and drink can contribute to tooth decay, the problem is caused by bacteria within your mouth which produce acid and feed off the sugars and starch left behind after eating or drinking. Living with tooth decay and cavities can be quite painful, but professional treatment is available, and your dentist will discuss your options during your routine check-up.
In this blog post, Sydney Park Dental will be highlighting everything you need to know about dental caries, along with some helpful tips for prevention.
Why Does Tooth Decay Occur?
On and around the throat, tongue, teeth, cheeks and gums live a large number of bacteria. The majority of these bacteria are not harmful, in fact many of them assist in the digestion process. However some bacteria within the mouth feed off sugar and starch, producing acid which can erode your enamel and lead to tooth decay.
Tooth decay can affect children and adults alike, however young children are considered a high-risk category as they have thinner, softer teeth. Whilst you cannot eliminate bacteria entirely, by following healthy oral hygiene practices you can maintain healthy levels of bacteria and reduce your risk of experiencing tooth decay or enamel erosion.
What are the risks of enamel erosion?
Continued acid attacks on your teeth will wear down the protective layer of enamel, resulting in mineral loss and allowing cavities to form. In addition you may also experience increased tooth sensitivity and discolouration on your teeth.
Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay
The single best thing you could do to reduce your risk of tooth decay is to brush and floss twice daily, use alcohol-free mouthwash and ensure your visit your dentist regularly. It is important to clean your teeth regularly, particularly if you’ve recently eaten sugary or starchy foods, as this aids in removing food particles and reducing the amount of acid in your mouth.
It is especially important to floss, as food particles caught in between your teeth are a rich food source for bacteria. Brushing alone will not remove these particles, and decay in these areas is common.
You may also wish to do the following
- Reduce consumption of sugary/starchy foods
- Carry sugar-free chewing gum to use after meals, which will help to release stuck food particles, increase saliva flow and freshen breath
- When consuming soft drinks and fruit juices, it is best to drink through a straw, and always drink a glass of fluoridated water after consumption.
- Eliminate snacking between meals
Treatment Options for Tooth Decay
Treatment options for tooth decay and enamel erosion will depend upon the severity of the condition. During your routine check-up, your dentist will prepare a treatment plan which may involve any of the following:
- Fluoride treatment – in minor cases of tooth decay, a fluoride treatment can help to strengthen existing enamel and provide additional protection against plaque.
- Fillings/Crowns – in some cases, it may be necessary to replace affected teeth with a filling or dental crown.
- Root Canal Treatment – in advanced stages where the root of the tooth has been exposed, root canal treatment may be necessary to repair the tooth and prevent further infection.
Due for a Check-Up? Book with Sydney Park Dental Today
If it’s been a while since your last check-up, you may wish to schedule an appointment at Sydney Park Dental. Our experienced dentists will perform a thorough check and clean to ensure any issues are identified early and help you maintain optimal oral hygiene year round.