What is Dental Decay
What is dental decay?
Dental decay or dental caries are very common oral diseases. Firstly, the disease breaks down the hard outer surface of the tooth, which is called enamel. The enamel is then undermined and a cavity forms. The tooth becomes weak and breaks and the nerve may become damaged.
What causes dental decay?
When certain bacteria that live in the mouth become exposed to sugars, they produce an acid. It is this acid which starts the breakdown of the tooth structure.
How can we prevent dental decay?
There are six important factors in preventing gum disease:
- Sensible diet with reduced intake of sugar, particularly between meals;
- Good saliva flow;
- Good oral hygiene routine;
- Regular and sufficient exposure to fluoride (found in both toothpaste and our water supply);
- Regular six monthly checks with your Dentist and Dental Hygienist; and
- Professional Fluoride application and Fissure Sealants (see information menu).
Why is saliva important?
Saliva is your body’s natural defence. It is full of minerals that neutralise the effects of the bacterial acid. Therefore, a reduced flow of saliva can increase your risk of dental decay.