Tooth decay is the destruction of tooth structure and can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin layer of the tooth.
Tooth decay occurs when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches), such as breads, cereals, milk, soda, fruits, cakes, or candy are left on the teeth. Bacteria that live in the mouth digest these foods, turning them into acids. The bacteria, acid, food debris, and saliva combine to form plaque, which clings to the teeth. The acids in plaque dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth, creating holes in the teeth called cavities.
A set of healthy teeth is good for the heart; bacteria in the mouth could enter the blood stream and cause infection in the heart, this could be life threatening, how about the pain due to tooth decay?
Tooth decay can be prevented by:
1. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily.
Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice daily. Brushing removes food debri and oils from the mouth and teeth. If food particles are left in the mouth, the growth of bacteria is encouraged.
Preferably, brush after each meal and especially before going to bed. Do not brush vigorously as this could affect your gum.
2. Flossing once in the night before retiring for the day.
Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss; this removes food debris from in-between the teeth.
3. Eating Foods like Carrots, Apples.
These fruits trigger the production of lot of saliva in the mouth and hence cleanse the teeth – making them bright and white.
4. See a Dentist regularly.
People are advised to see a dentist twice a year for dental check-up. Dental cleaning could be done during the visit. Cleaning your teeth removes debris, and others.
5. Avoiding excessive consumption of carbohydrates especially sugars
Sugar contributes immensely to tooth decay. Bacteria normally present in the mouth break down sugars to form acids which eat up the “white” of the teeth and gums causing cavities. The bacteria also work on the sugar in the mouth to form thick substances (plaques) that stick to the teeth. These plaques in turn aid the activities of the bacteria to create more cavities.
Some of these bacteria can find their way into the blood stream and cause infections in the heart and the blood vessels.
Avoid carbohydrates such as candy, pretzels and chips, which can remain on the tooth surface. If sticky foods are eaten, brush your teeth soon afterwards.
6. Drink fluoridated water.
A mouth rinse containing fluoride can help prevent tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association. Drink fluoridated water; at least two glasses of fluoridated water if available each day could protect children from tooth decay.