Six top tips to avoid suffering
The very first fact to emphasise is that all tooth decay is preventable! No one needs to suffer the pain, the discomfort or the agony of a tooth whose protective enamel surface has been destroyed to expose the pulp and nerve tissue where the blood vessels and pain receptors are. Tooth decay is caused by a chemical reaction between bacteria in the mouth and sugars found in food and drink. The more sugars you consume the greater the risk of tooth decay. It is as simple as that!
Children tend to be more at risk of suffering tooth decay because they like to binge on sugary foods and drink, so our first top tip about how to prevent tooth decay therefore is to restrict (no you should severely restrict) their consumption of sweets, cakes, chocolate, puddings, etc and of course sugary drinks… especially sweet, fizzy drinks where the carbon dioxide is another major enemy of teeth.
Instead encourage them to eat more savoury foods that do not contain sugars. This advice, incidentally, is just as relevant for grown-ups too, because even adults are not immune to tooth decay.
Our second top tip is that if you do want to indulge youngsters (or yourself) in a sweet treat, do make sure that it is part of a meal. Do not encourage sweet snacking between meals. Never let children devour a whole bag of sweets or chocolate at one go. The continuous subjection of sugar on teeth can be devastating. Savoury not sweet should be your motto!
Top tip number three of how to prevent tooth decay is to always check for ‘hidden sugars’. Sometimes even seemingly healthy foods such a dried fruits can be highly laden with sugars. Watch out too for ‘sugar reduced’ snacks and drinks. These can still contain a surprising and often considerable amount of sugar.
Top tip number four is for parents of very young children. As dentists we frequently see evidence of ‘bottle caries’,which are caused by too frequent or too lengthy bottle-feeding of milk or sweet drinks. Don’t forget that milk contains lactose, which is a type of sugar.
Top tip number five about how to prevent tooth decay is that as part of our preventative dentistry advice we always recommend that everyone (children and adults) should visit their dentist for regular check-ups and x-rays. If there is any sign of tooth decay it can be attended to there and then before it becomes a major problem.
Top tip number six … this is most important. Our cleaning advice is that everyone should always clean their teeth twice a day – in the morning on getting up and last thing at night before going to bed. Use a good quality ‘medium’ toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Clean your teeth for around two minutes. You should also floss between your teeth to clean those parts where the brush cannot reach.
If you want to read and see more about how to prevent tooth decay please go to our preventative dentistry page and click on tooth decay. You’ll also find lots of valuable information on the website’s cleaning advice page.
Remember, no one has to suffer from tooth decay because it is preventable. If you wish to speak to one of our dental team about how to prevent tooth decay you can call us on 0161 951 7295 or alternatively you can contact us by using the online form on our Appointments page.