DENTAL DECAY

The most common disease in the mouth is tooth decay (caries). With today’s sugary foods becoming cheaper and more accessible, it is not surprising that this problem will always be prevalent. However, the good news is that tooth decay is totally preventable and in some cases, reversible!

Whenever our teeth get a sugar attack by eating sugary foods, the bacteria in the mouth convert it to various acids which erode the teeth. This is the beginning of tooth decay. Studies have shown that it takes 30 minutes to an hour to recover from a 1 minute sugar attack!!

This information tells us that if we don’t give our teeth enough time to recover, the acids will continuously erode the teeth until holes start to form.

Many carbonated drinks will affect the teeth in a similar way. Not only because they contain lots of sugar, but also because the fizz is acidic and can cause erosion of the teeth. So that’s double trouble!

Another thing to bear in mind is FLUORIDE can help strengthen the teeth and prevent decay further. So make sure you use a fluoride toothpaste regularly!

Lessons learned:

  • Avoid sugary foods (cakes, chocolates, ice cream, biscuits, crisps) as much as you can. Healthier alternatives are fruit and vegetables!

  • Sugary foods should only be taken during main meal times, and avoided in between meals.

  • If drinking fizzy drinks, use a straw and swallow immediately. Don’t slush it round your mouth!

  • Don’t eat anything after you brush your teeth at night. Go to bed!

  • Find out more about Fluoride Treatment – Click Here

What is tooth erosion?

Tooth erosion occurs when acid wears away at enamel, the outer layer of the tooth. Tooth enamel is the hard, outer layer of the tooth, it is known as the hardest tissue in the body. The enamel covers the crown, which is the visible part of the tooth. It is the translucent portion of your tooth covering main portion of your tooth, the dentin. Dentin is the portion responsible for your tooth colour.

Your enamel has an important role of protecting your teeth from daily wear and tear during activities such as chewing, grinding and biting. Whilst the enamel might be the hardest tissue, it can undergo erosion or chip and crack, it does not have the ability to repair itself as it is not made up of living cells.

What are the signs of tooth erosion?

  • Earliest stages of tooth erosion may induce slight pain when eating certain foods such as sweets or when exposed to hot or cold food and drink.

  • A yellow appearance of the tooth may occur as erosion takes place and more of the dentin is exposed.

  • Teeth can become rough and uneven.

  • Teeth can become extremely sensitive to temperature and sugary food.

What are the causes of tooth erosion?

There are a number of factors that could lead to enamel erosion.

  • A diet high in sugar and frequent consumption of soda and fruit drinks (with high levels of phosphoric and citric acid) lowers the pH level of your mouth, resulting in the erosion of healthy teeth.

  • Dry mouth

  • Acid reflux

  • External factors such as: teeth grinding, friction, and daily wear and tear

  • Health conditions such as bulimia nervosa that affects oral health

What can be done to avoid tooth erosion?

  • Avoid abrasive force. Avoid brushing your teeth in an aggressive manner. Use a soft-bristled brush and brush in a gentle manner.

  • Lower the frequency of consumption of acidic food and drink. This reduces the acidic exposure of your teeth and gives it time to re-mineralise

  • Acidic fluids should not be held in the mouth or sipped for a long period of time. Drinking acidic beverages through a straw is advised to reduce contact time of the beverage with teeth.

  • The usage of fluoride gel to increase enamel hardness and resistance to erosion

  • Increasing your diet of calcium such as milk and dairy products

  • Seeking out treatment for underlying medical conditions such as acid reflux

What causes tooth sensitivity?

Tooth sensitivity is a result of the exposure of the part of the tooth, called dentin, that covers the nerves. The dentin has tiny channels which are pathways to the nerve, which when exposed, can be triggered easily to cause tooth sensitivity. Dentin is worn away and exposed due to a number of possible causes such as:

  • Tooth decay

  • Worn-out enamel

  • Broken or cracked teeth

  • Teeth damage due to incorrect aggressive brushing

  • Over-use of teeth whitening products

  • Damaged dental fillings

  • Gum disease

  • Gum recession

  • Grinding of teeth

What can be done to combat tooth sensitivity?

In order to reduce tooth sensitivity, we recommend the following;

  • Avoid very hot or cold food and drinks

  • Avoid consuming highly acidic food or beverages

  • Brush teeth gently using a soft-bristled brush

Treatment for sensitivity can differ according to the underlying cause and it is best to visit your dentist for an examination to seek out the best way moving forward and to determine what could be the underlying cause for your tooth sensitivity.

Dentists and hygienists often recommend the use of desensitising toothpastes containing fluoride, designed to help lessen teeth sensitivity and prevent tooth decay. A desensitising gel might also be applied as treatment.

Dental treatment such as fillings, crowns or bonding might be needed depending on the cause of sensitivity.

If extreme sensitivity is present and cannot be treated by other options, a root canal could be performed to eliminate the cause of sensitivity.

Here at Aperture Dental we work hard to ensure your oral health and comfort, if tooth sensitivity is affecting your everyday life, we urge you to contact us at Aperture Dental today.