What is Caries (Tooth Decay)? How to avoid it?

Author: Dr Behnam Aminnejad. Posted: 26.09.23

Caries, commonly known as tooth decay or dental caries, is a dental condition characterized by the destruction of the tooth structure, primarily caused by the action of bacteria. These bacteria produce acids from the sugars present in our diet, which gradually dissolve the tooth enamel, leading to the formation of cavities.

To prevent caries and maintain good oral health, several preventive measures can be adopted:

  1. 1. Brushing: Regular brushing with fluoridated toothpaste helps remove the plaque, bacteria, and food particles from teeth. It is essential to brush at least twice a day, especially before bedtime.
  2. 2. Flossing: Flossing daily helps remove plaque and food debris from between teeth and along the gum line, which cannot be reached by a toothbrush alone.
  3. 3. Healthy diet: Limiting the intake of sugary and acidic foods and beverages reduces the amount of acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. Opting for a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins promotes overall dental and general health.
  4. 4. Fluoride use: Fluoride plays a vital role in preventing and reversing the early stages of tooth decay. Regularly using fluoride toothpaste, mouth rinses, or topical treatments prescribed by dentists strengthens the tooth enamel and makes it more resistant to acid attacks.
  5. 5. Dental visits: Regular dental check-ups allow oral health professionals to detect any signs of caries in the early stages. Dentists can perform professional cleanings, fluoride treatments, and provide personalized advice to maintain good oral hygiene.
  6. 6. Sealants: Sealants are thin, protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth. They act as a barrier, preventing bacteria and food particles from accumulating in the grooves and pits, thus reducing the risk of caries.
  7. 7. Limit snacking: Frequent snacking, especially on sugary or sticky foods, increases the exposure of teeth to acid-producing bacteria. Reducing the frequency and duration of snacking helps prevent caries.
  8. 8. Drink water and chew gum: Drinking water after meals helps rinse away food particles and dilutes the acids in the mouth. Chewing sugar-free gum stimulates saliva production, which neutralizes acids and helps in the remineralization process.
  9. 9. Personal hygiene habits: Avoid habits such as nail-biting, teeth grinding (bruxism), and using teeth as tools, as these behaviours can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of caries.
In Summary

By adopting these preventive measures, individuals can significantly decrease their chances of developing caries and maintain good oral health throughout their lives. It is also important to remember that regular dental care, along with a healthy lifestyle, contributes to overall well-being.

If you would like more advice or would like to make appointment, please telephone the practice during open times: 01248 370054

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