A healthy diet combined with good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments can help keep teeth healthy.
What is tooth decay?
Every time we eat or drink, our teeth are exposed to an acid attack. The bacteria in the mouth(plaque) ferments food or drink to make acids, and if teeth are exposed to these acids long enough, cavities develop, this is known as tooth decay. Consumption of sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis is the number one cause of tooth decay.
Why is saliva important?
Saliva is the body’s natural defence against tooth decay. It helps to dilute and wash acids and sugars from the mouth and reduces the effects of the acids produced by plaque bacteria. If “acid attacks” occur too often, your saliva won’t have enough time to repair the damage and a cavity will eventually develop.
What is tooth erosion?
Enamel is the hardest material in the body, it covers the outside of teeth in order to protect the inner layers of the teeth. Tooth erosion occurs when acidic foods and drinks dissolve away tooth enamel, leading to the loss of tooth structure and the need for dental treatment.
Looking after your teeth is a lifelong commitment, here are some tips for good dental health :
-Drink tap water rather than bottled water, as it usually contains a higher level of fluoride.
-Offer children milk or water-as these are the only recommended drinks for children.
-Eat a small amount of hard cheese after meals to help protect teeth from dental decay.
-Limit intake of sugary and acidic drinks, such as fruit juice, cordials, fruit drinks, energy drinks, soft drinks, wine and diet or artificially sweetened soft drinks.
-Always use a fluoridated toothpaste.
-See a dentist for a check-up at least once a year.