Your smile is one of your most attractive and noticeable facial features so, when it comes to maintaining a happy, healthy smile, it’s essential that you recognise the importance of looking after the health of your teeth. After all, it’s inevitable that everyday wear and tear will eventually take its toll on your teeth as you get older, but this doesn’t mean that you should neglect them now. Neglecting your teeth can lead to a whole host of long-term health problems including tooth decay!
So, we’ve created a helpful guide outlining the actions you can take to prevent tooth decay…
But first of all, what is tooth decay?
Tooth decay occurs when the enamel and dentine on your teeth is softened by an acid attack, generally after you’ve consumed food or drink containing high levels of sugar. This is because, over time, the acid creates a cavity hole in the tooth causing dental decay.
What causes dental decay?
Dental decay is caused when plaque acids attack the teeth, causing the enamel and dentine on your teeth to slowly dissolve. When this happens, it causes the decay to damage your teeth, which can then lead to the tooth needing to be filled or even removed in severe cases.
What are the signs of tooth decay?
Spotting the signs of decay is particularly difficult during the early stages as there are no symptoms.
This is why you should ensure that you visit your dentist on a regular basis as they have the knowledge, skills, and equipment to spot symptoms early. And remember, small cavities are much easier treat than advanced decay!
But what happens if I have a cavity!
If you do have a cavity, once it reaches a certain size, you tooth may become sensitive to hot, cold, and acidic foods and drinks.
However, if the cavity remains untreated and the decay progresses nearer to the nerve of your tooth (also known as the dental pulp), you may start to experience painful toothache and should see an emergency dentist immediately.
If the toothache persists and you need to start taking over the counter painkillers to manage the pain, you should visit your dentist as you may develop a dental abscess if the cavity is left untreated.
What happens if I don’t get it treated early?
Toothache is a sign that something is not quite right, so you should always visit your dental team straight away so that they can nip any problems in the bud.
After all, if you ignore the health of your teeth and don’t do anything, it could only make matters worse, and even result in the loss of a tooth, which could of otherwise been saved.
What areas of my teeth are likely to decay?
The parts of your teeth, which are most susceptible to decay, include the biting surfaces of your teeth as well as the surfaces between your teeth. This is because food and plaque can become lodged between theses areas.
What can I do to prevent tooth decay?
The best way to prevent dental decay is to ensure that you thoroughly brush your teeth before you go to sleep, and at least one other time during the day using fluoride toothpaste.
When you are brushing your teeth you should always make sure that you brush the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth. And for areas which are particularly difficult to reach, you should use interdental brushes, dental floss or tape as these tools are perfect for brushing hard to reach areas.
Can anything be done to protect my teeth against decay?
In order to maintain a happy and healthy smile, you should ensure that you visit your dentist frequently – no excuses! But that’s not all, you should also make a conscious effort to avoid any sugary or acidic food and drink, avoid snacking in-between meal times and chew sugar free gum up to twenty minutes after a meal in order to help your mouth produce more saliva! Saliva helps to cancel out any acids that have formed in your mouth.