Tooth Decay (Cavities)
Tooth decay is caused by plaque bacteria in the mouth. Decay occurs when the bacteria in the mouth feed on carbohydrates (sugars and starches) in certain foods to create an acid. This acid eats away at the tooth enamel (the outer surface of the tooth) causing pitted areas and holes.
Without effectively removing the plaque bacteria it can build up and increase the likelihood of developing decay. Decay cannot be reversed yet it can be prevented.
Prevention - what you can do
- Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste. It is especially important to brush before bedtime.
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Limit sugary foods and drinks as well as the number of times you eat during the day.
- Floss daily to remove plaque between the teeth. Brushing alone only cleans two-thirds of the tooth’s surface.
- Visit your dentist. Regular professional cleanings and dental examinations. Your dentist is trained to identify the early signs of disease and through regular dental exams will monitor your mouth and work with you to prevent and/or stop the progression of disease.