Tooth Decay: Dental Caries

Dental caries / decay, is a common disease, which causes cavities and discoloration of both permanent and “baby” teeth. Progression will lead to a tooth becoming weaker, possibly breaking and may also damage the nerve.Hornsby Dentist dental caries tooth decay

What causes dental caries?

Sugary foods can be broken down into an acid which eats (demineralisation) into the tooth, forming a hole which allows bacteria into the tooth. Acidic foods can also do the same.

Prevention of Dental Caries/Decay

Decay can be prevented by maintaining a good balanced diet, a good cleaning routine with fluoridated toothpastes.

Tips:

  1. Try and limit the consumption of sugary/acidic foods/drinks to meal times.
  2. brushing and flossing your teeth carefully and routinely to reduce the amount of bacteria on their surfaces.
  3. Use a fluoride toothpaste. This will make the surfaces of teeth more resistant to acid.
  4. Maintain good saliva flow usually with adequate water intake.

Importance of Saliva?

Saliva is the best natural defense against decay. The acid from bacteria can be neutralised by saliva. Reduced saliva flow (dry mouth) can increase your risk of decay. Saliva helps replace minerals back on the tooth surface to strengthen it against acid attacks. If the rate of demineralisation is greater than remineralisation the result is decay.

Some causes of reduced saliva flow:

  1. Medications may have a side effect of drying the mouth out.
  2. Excessive intake of caffeine can have a dehydrating effect, drawing fluid from the body and reducing saliva flow.
  3. Working in a dry environment and not rehydrating often enough
  4. Some specific diseases or conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome

Please see us at Hornsby Dentist if you suffer from dry mouth.

Treatment of Tooth Decay.

Very early dental caries is actually reversible. Dr Le can treat early areas of caries with topical fluoride, and with regular cleaning with fluoride toothpastes, a good diet, no other treatment may be required.

More advanced dental caries will require a “filling”. The damaged and infected soft tooth structure will need to be cleaned out and replaced with a filling to repair the tooth. Early intervention is important to preserve the strength of the tooth and prevent bacteria damaging the tooth pulp/nerve.

Diet : Importance of Prevention of Tooth Decay

The best way to prevent and treat dental caries isby decreasing how often you have sugar in your food and drinks
How often sugar in food/drinks is consumed is far more important than how much sugar is taken.

Prevention of dental caries through diet include:

  • Rinsing your mouth with water after having a meal/drink
  • Increasing the amount of dairy e.g. cheese after sugary food or drink. This will help to neutralize the acid produced by oral bacteria.
  • Chewing sugarless gum may help protect your teeth by stimulating extra saliva.
  • Avoiding excess caffeine as it will lead to drying of the mouth
  • Reduction of smoking as it changes the saliva to a more harmful consistency.

Make an appointment at The Dentist Hornsby

 

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