Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or cavities, is one of our most common oral diseases. Cavities are caused by acid attacks on the tooth enamel.
Every time you eat something, bacteria in your mouth start to produce acids that corrode the teeth. Your saliva helps to cleanse the mouth and neutralise the acids, but this alone is not enough. The bacteria form plaque that continues to damage your teeth if they are not properly cleaned.
Frequent snacking between meals will not give your teeth the chance to recover from the acid attacks. Let your teeth rest and choose water when thirsty instead of sugary or acidic drinks. Always go to bed with clean teeth – the production of saliva is reduced at night.
If you suffer from dry mouth, the risk of cavities is higher. Your oral hygiene is even more important as there is less saliva that helps clean the teeth.
Brush your teeth with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice a day. Fluoride strengthens the tooth enamel and can heal early signs of caries. You should also clean between your teeth once a day. Fluoride can easily be added to the interdental spaces by use of a fluoridated dental stick or an interdental brush with fluoride gel or gel with chlorhexidine and fluoride.
In addition to your daily home care, visit your dentist or dental hygienist regularly.
Read more about your oral health in our leaflet Simple tips for a healthy smile.