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12th October 2018

Preventing Tooth Decay

Over the last few weeks, the news has been full of stories about the rising rate of tooth decay in children, as it was revealed that 26,000 children undergo general anaesthetic for tooth extractions each year in the UK.

Here at Shine Dental Care in Mansfield, we find this statistic both shocking and upsetting due to the fact that tooth decay is an entirely preventable disease. Read on to learn exactly what causes tooth decay and how to prevent it before it happens.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused when the bacteria that live in dental plaque produce acids that break down the surface of the tooth. These bacteria feed on the sugar we consume in our diets. Therefore, by limiting sugar intake the bacteria are deprived of their source of energy and acid production is reduced.

How can I prevent tooth decay?

The more often you consume sugar, the more often your teeth are subject to an acid attack and are therefore more prone to decay. Similarly, the higher the quantity of sugar you consume, the more acid is produced, again making your teeth more vulnerable to decay.

By reducing your sugar intake, and consuming it less frequently you will greatly reduce the likelihood of developing tooth decay.

Anything else I can do?

As well as reducing the sugar in your diet you need to ensure that you effectively remove dental plaque on a regular basis. The best way to achieve this is to brush twice a day for two minutes; this will disturb the plaque bacteria and prevent the production of acid. Many tooth surfaces are not accessible with a toothbrush and so it is also important to floss daily to remove plaque from these areas.

Using a fluoride toothpaste helps to strengthen the outer surface of your teeth, making them more resistant to plaque acids and tooth decay. The amount of fluoride needed is dependant on age. The fluoride content can be easily found on the toothpaste tube. We have provided a handy table for you;

Age Fluoride ppm
0-3 years 1000ppm
3-6 years 1350-1500ppm (only a pea-sized amount)
6+ years 1350-1500ppm

Lastly, regular dental checkups will ensure that any tooth decay that does occur will be spotted earlier and be much easier to treat. Prevention is much better than cure.

How often you should see a dentist will depend on your personal tooth decay risk. During a routine check-up at Shine Dental Care, our dentists will advise you how often you should be seen.

We always welcome new patients, so if you are worried about any aspect of your dental health, or are simply looking for a new dental practice in Mansfield, contact us and we will be happy to help.