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Maida Smiles (W. London)

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09 Jun

What causes dental caries and how to avoid them


Dental caries are also known as tooth decay: permanent damage to the hard surface areas of your teeth that develop over time into tiny openings or holes. The main cause of cavities is the constant consumption of snacking on sugary foods and drinks and not cleaning your teeth well enough.

If cavities aren´t treated, they get larger and deeper, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. They can lead to severe toothache, infection and if left untreated, even tooth loss.

Cavities are caused by tooth decay. However, it isn´t a process that happens overnight. Cavities form over a period of time due to bad dietary habits and lack of effective cleaning. 

How to avoid tooth decay 

It´s actually pretty simple. If you keep up with brushing your teeth twice a day and floss daily mixed with limiting foods and drinks that will erode the enamel of your teeth, you can keep cavities at bay.

Brush with fluoride toothpaste

Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, ideally after every meal. Be sure that you are using toothpaste that includes fluoride. You should also floss daily or use an interdental cleaner. This will help clean in between your teeth where food may linger and cause you problems.

Rinse your mouth

Rinsing your mouth with a mouthwash containing fluoride is a preventative measure, especially if you are at a high risk of developing cavities. Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing or flossing. Rinsing, brushing, and flossing will help protect you from cavities or gum disease.

Limit certain foods

The main culprit for tooth decay is sugar! Sugary foods, juices and sweets erode the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities. A lot of foods that are masked to seem like they are good for you actually have an extremely high sugar content like some cereal bars, fruit juices and vitamin gummies. Zero sugar soft drinks may have zero sugar in them but they contain many artificial sweeteners that are often acidic which is even worse for your teeth. Limit or avoid all of these kinds of products when possible.

Stay hydrated

Continuously staying hydrated will help wash away any food residue that may be left in your mouth. Helping wash out any bacteria that is lingering in your mouth after you have eaten.

Staying hydrated is essential for your general health as well as your oral health. Drinking water also prevents dry mouth, which in turn also keeps tooth decay at bay.

A common misconception is that tap water is bad for you. Most public water supplies have added fluoride, which can help you reduce tooth decay significantly. If you only drink bottled water that does not contain fluoride, you will miss out on its benefits.

Visit your dentist regularly 

Visiting your dentist twice a year or even more often if your dentist recommends it. Your dentist will be able to clean your teeth properly and will be able to spot any cavities that you will not be able to spot on your own. Unfortunately, you will also not be able to properly clean plaque and calculus off your teeth, no matter how amazing your brushing is. Therefore, you need to visit your dentist frequently. Your dentist may also be able to recommend a supplemental fluoride, which further strengthens your teeth.