Break the mindset of inevitability. Change your dietary habits, review your oral hygiene routine, talk to your dentist and educate your family to help build a cavity-free future for everyone.
What is dental caries?
Dental caries is the term used by healthcare and dental professionals for tooth decay.
In Europe, almost all adults have experienced dental caries which, if left untreated at the early stages, can progress to cavities. However, most of us aren’t aware that the early stages of damage can be stopped or reversed.
How does dental caries occur?
When we eat or drink, sugars are converted to harmful acids by bacteria in our mouth. These acids, produced in the plaque or “bio-film” which builds up on our teeth, attack the outer surface of the tooth, the enamel. Within the “bio-film” the health and disease system is in a constant state of flux. Over time, if more tooth mineral is lost than is replaced, then dental caries will start or advance. In contrast, if more tooth mineral is replaced than lost, dental caries will not develop, or if an early “lesion” has already developed, it may stop progressing – or even reverse.
How can dental caries be prevented and controlled?
Initial dental caries lesions can be identified by a dental health professional and managed by good oral hygiene with a fluoride containing toothpaste from a trusted source and by avoiding the frequent intake of sugary snacks or drinks.
Dental caries lesions at later stage (including obvious cavities) may require extensive irreversible treatments including fillings and tooth extraction.
What can I do to keep my teeth sound and protected?
Reduce Sugary Snacks in Between Meals
You can manage your oral health and stop irreversible cavities from forming by lowering the frequency of sugar intake. The less sugar you eat, the less acid is produced by bacteria. This will increase your body’s ability to naturally balance some of the lost minerals. Sugars are in many snacks and drinks but they are also hidden in sugared teas, coffee and many processed meals containing starch such as white bread.
Establish a Proper Oral Care Routine at Home
Did you know that for young children, one way to predict how healthy their teeth are going to be is whether or not they brush regularly? Studies have shown that children who brush ideally twice a day with a fluoride containing toothpaste from a trusted source are less likely to develop irreversible cavities than children who don’t brush.
Visit Your Dentist Regularly
The early detection and treatment of dental caries is only possible with regular dental inspection. Your dentist can advise you on how often you need to visit. Dental professionals have tools that can help repair the early stages of dental caries and prevent future irreversible cavities.
5 top tips to beat Tooth Decay
- Think before you snack!
Ask yourself “Am I consuming more than 50g of sugar per day?”
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day
- Brush your teeth effectively to remove plaque – make sure you reach the tough spots at the back of your mouth and make sure you spend two minutes brushing
- Value your teeth and change the way you think about them – imagine you can see and feel the damage being done to your teeth by constant exposure to sugar. We all spend time in front of the mirror looking after our skin and hair, so why wouldn’t you look after your teeth?
- Act before it’s too late! – ask your dental team about your personal risk of tooth decay to learn about the ideal frequency of dental visits and additional measures to beat tooth decay