Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, are one of the most common oral diseases. Each time you eat something, food gets stuck between the teeth. If not cleaned, it starts to rot and causes a build-up of bacteria that produces acids which corrodes the teeth.
While saliva does help to cleanse the mouth and neutralise the acids, it is not sufficient to completely prevent cavities. Plaque between the teeth can also damage the teeth if not cleaned properly. Individuals who suffer from dry mouth are also at a higher risk of getting cavities, and oral hygiene becomes even more important because there is less saliva to help cleanse the teeth.
If you want to protect your teeth from cavities it’s important to do the following:
- Choose water more often than sugary or alcohol drinks.
- Eat nutritious meals and choose balanced diets with limited sugar snacks.
- Avoid carbohydrates like candies and chips that can remain on the tooth surface for longer amounts of time.
- Always brush before bed as saliva production is reduced at night.
- It’s preferable to brush after every meal.
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Fluoride is proven to strengthen tooth enamel and can heal early signs of cavities.
- Rinse your mouth with a fluoride containing mouth rinse to prevent tooth decay.
- Check with your dentist about the use of supplemental fluoride which helps to strengthen teeth.
- Drinking fluoridated water can also help protect adults and children from tooth decay.
- Visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly for professional cleaning or an oral exam.
- Clean between teeth with either dental floss or interdental cleaners, like those found in the TePe range.