Tooth decay: prevention rather than cure

Dossier : Tooth decay: how does it develop? How can it be prevented?

prevent tooth decay

Caries occur when bacteria in plaque metabolises sugar to form plaque acid.

GENETIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS 

Inside the mouth, certain bacteria produce acids which weaken the tooth. These bacteria can multiply in order to form plaque which attaches itself to the tooth and causes tooth decay to develop.  

Some people have a genetic predisposition which is more conducive than others to the development of tooth decay: their enamel is thinner and therefore weaker, their misaligned teeth are difficult to clean, etc. They must, therefore, pay particular attention to the health of their teeth.

Sugary foods and acids which cause enamel erosion also play an important role in the development of tooth decay:

  • Beverages such as fruit juices and soft drinks are naturally acidic
  • Sweets, crisps and biscuits, etc. are very rich sources of sugars, these sugars are converted into acid by the bacteria

These acids are very corrosive. They attack tooth enamel and thus encourage the development of tooth decay.

ADOPT GOOD PRACTICES THAT PREVENT TOOTH DECAY

Take care of your oral hygiene

Although it is difficult to act on genetic factors, it is, on the other hand, possible to prevent the development of tooth decay by concentrating on the environmental factors.  A good oral hygiene regimen is thus essential:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day in order to remove plaque
  • Use daily use mouthwashes and dental floss to clean those hard-to-reach areas

THE PROTECTIVE ROLE OF FLUORIDE

Fluoride is an effective means of preventing tooth decay. Regular use of fluoride reduces the risk of developing tooth decay. Fluoride toothpastes, mouthwashes containing fluoride and a balanced diet (tap water, certain fish or seafood) help strengthen tooth enamel. Teeth are thus less sensitive to acid attacks and therefore less susceptible to tooth decay.

GOOD DIET

Aside from the daily cleaning practices, your diet could foster the development of tooth decay. To prevent it from developing, it is highly recommended that you avoid snacking, limit the consumption of soft drinks, cordials and acidic fruit juices and favour a balanced diet.

Ref: J&J internal data

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