Tooth Decay

At Women in Dentistry we have a strong focus on prevention of dental decay and gum disease.

Tooth decay is a diet-related disease. It starts when bacteria in your mouth use sugars in the food you eat to make acid. This acid dissolves the mineral in your teeth. This can lead to signs of tooth decay such as white or dark spots on teeth, and later to holes (cavities) in teeth. If these cavities progress and are not treated, you can develop sensitivity to sweet, cold or hot food and drink. Severe aching may mean that the nerve inside the tooth has been affected and root canal treatment may be required.

At Women in Dentistry we have a strong focus on prevention of dental decay and gum disease.

What follows is some general advice on prevention of decay

Eat a healthy and balanced diet and reduce how often you eat sugary foods or drink sugary drinks. Watch for the hidden sugar in many processed foods.

Drink fluoridated tap water rather than soft drinks or juice. Staying well-hydrated improves the amount of saliva, which protects your teeth. Chewing sugar free gum also promotes saliva flow.

Low saliva flow (dry mouth) increases your risk of dental decay. There are many causes-some medications, some medical conditions, strenuous exercise, working in a hot or dry environment, and a high intake of caffeine. We have many strategies and products available to help you manage dry mouth and prevent decay.

Brush twice a day and floss once a day. If you skip the flossing, you miss out on cleaning 30 % of the tooth surface. Use a tooth paste which contains fluoride. There are special lower fluoride toothpastes for young children from 18 months to 6 years of age. For babies under 18 months, brush with a child sized tooth brush and water, or wipe the teeth with a moist face cloth after the night bottle.

If you have deep grooves in molar teeth, we recommend fissure sealants to strengthen these surfaces. We often place higher strength fluoride varnishes and gels on tooth surfaces which need extra protection.

For most of our patients, we recommend a check and clean visit every six months. Every 2-3 years we use x-rays to help us identify early decay.

Our aim is to work with you to keep your mouth healthy for life.

Dr Jo-Anne Cherry