Tooth Decay Is Largely Preventable – Here’s How….

Basic knowledge and good daily care are essential for healthy teeth.

Anyone who has had a toothache will know how all encompassing the pain can be. It can lead to sleepless nights, even when it is a relatively minor one.

Once toothache is present, nearly everyone will call a dentist, however much they may dislike going to one. The tooth can then either be restored with a filling or crown, or, where the decay is too extensive, the tooth may need to be extracted as a last resort.

At Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, we are very keen to help our Canterbury patients avoid this situation. Tooth decay can be prevented with appropriate care and part of our role is to ‘educate’ our patients how best they can do this.

These are the simple, but essential steps to take to help avoid tooth decay.

Mind your diet

Sugar has long been established as the ‘number one enemy’ of your teeth. Too much sugar contributes to decay, allowing bacteria to enter the tooth, causing further damage and often pain. In the past, keeping sugar consumption low was relatively straightforward but these days, sugar is added to so many foods that keeping consumption low is much more difficult. The reliance on snakcing and convenience food by many people, only serves to exacerbate the problem.

With a little care though, it is possible to reduce your sugar intake, and it will be beneficial to your teeth if you do. Your waistline may also benefit too.

Avoid ‘grazing’

Easy access to ready prepared foods means that many of us snack regularly throughout the day, rather than eating regular meals. This means that our teeth not only come under almost constant attack from sugar and acids, but, as our teeth soften a little when we eat, they become more vulnerable to damage too. If you leave around an hour after eating, before eating again, your enamel will have time to remineralise, helping to protect your teeth.

Drink water, not sodas

As you can imagine, the sugar content in many fizzy drinks is very high. These are also often acidic too, doubling the potential harm that they can cause your teeth. You should avoid these altogether if you can, but certainly reduce them as much as possible.

Staying hydrated is very important though, and drinking water is by far the best way to achieve this. Not only will drinking water after a meal help to dislodge food that may otherwise become stuck between your teeth, but keeping well hydrated is really beneficial in avoiding gum disease as well.

Clean your teeth well

Many of us probably brush our teeth out of habit; quite often with old toothbrushes. Brushing your teeth well is the most fundamental thing that you can do to avoid tooth decay, and it is therefore worth taking a look at how you can improve on this.

Our Canterbury dental team offer the following suggestions.

  • Replace any worn toothbrush older than 3 months
  • Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride
  • Brush for 2 minutes
  • Don’t just focus on your front teeth. Your rear teeth also need brushing well
  • Brush the rear surface of your teeth and not just the front
  • When you have finished, spit but don’t rinse. Leaving the toothpaste in your mouth helps the fluoride to strengthen your teeth
  • Eat nothing and drink only water after brushing at night

Add inter-dental cleaning

Brushing your teeth is essential, but adding flossing to your routine can make a real difference. This dislodges not only trapped food, but harmful bacteria too. The gap between our teeth is where decay and gum disease often start, but we so often neglect to clean effectively there. You can use regular dental floss or one of the many tools now available; please ask us for advice if you need any.

Professional dental care

Whilst the patient is responsible for the first line of defence against tooth decay and other oral hygiene problems, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to see a dentist. Our teeth are all different, and even with the best care at home, some of us are likely to have at least some tooth decay. With good care and regular visits to our Canterbury dental practice, even if you do need a filling, this will hopefully be relatively small. Neglecting to see a dentist regularly however, will mean that any small instances of decay will become larger, eventually necessitating a larger filling, crown, or even a tooth extraction.

Any dental plaque that is not removed will harden, and become what is known as ‘tartar’. This will need to be removed, but no amount of brushing will achieve it and so it becomes a job for the dental hygienist. Using non invasive methods, they will remove the tartar from the teeth and gum line, leaving you with healthier gums.

Poor oral health is far from inevitable, so making sure that we understand, and act upon, information that helps us to have a healthy mouth is essential. Part of this process means making sure that you are registered with a local dentist.

If you would like to register with Bradley and Partners Dental and Implant Clinic, please contact one of our friendly reception team on 01227 463529 for further information.