Treating and Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is one of the most preventable health conditions. Look after your teeth well and visit your dentist regularly, and you should be able to prevent tooth decay.
You can easily reduce the chance of getting tooth decay by simply cutting down on sugary food and drinks, particularly between meals. Also, try not to have something to eat just before going to bed!
If you get tooth decay, there are techniques that can help repair damaged teeth, such as fillings and crowns.
In more advanced cases of tooth decay, there may be a need for root canal treatment, or the tooth may need to be removed.
How common is it?
Tooth decay is one of the most widespread health problems in the UK. It is estimated that 31% of adults in the UK have tooth decay.
Tooth decay is also a problem for children.
Preventing Tooth Decay
Maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing and flossing your teeth is one of the most effective ways to prevent tooth decay.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Ideally, brush your teeth after eating rather than before. However, do not brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after a meal as this can damage your teeth, particularly if you have eaten food high in carbohydrates or sugar.
Brushing your tongue will help freshen your breath and will clean your mouth by removing bacteria.
Do not rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash after brushing as this washes the protective toothpaste away. Just spit out excess toothpaste.
Most toothbrushes need to be replaced every three months.
Flossing is an important part of oral hygiene. It removes plaque and food particles from between your teeth and under the gum line – areas a toothbrush can not always reach.
Using dental mouthwash that contains fluoride can also help prevent tooth decay. However, this should not be used directly after tooth brushing. Choose a separate time to use mouthwash, such as after lunch. Do not eat or drink for 30 minutes after using a fluoride mouthwash.
Try to avoid eating lots of food and drink high in fermented carbohydrates. This includes: fizzy drinks, coffee and tea with sugar added, chocolate, sweets, cakes, crisps and biscuits.