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Tooth Decay (Dental Caries)


Tooth decay is an infectious disease caused by bacteria located in plaque (the sticky substance attached to our teeth, appears clear if relatively new and appears thick white and creamy when mature). The plaque on our teeth contains over 300 species of bacteria. When these bacteria come into contact with carbohydrates or sugars, these bacteria feed on these foods to produce acid. The acid produced by the bacteria leads to acid damage on our teeth which initially presents as white stains and can eventually create cavities. These cavities must be cleaned out and filled by the dentist otherwise will lead to larger holes being formed and eventually severe tooth ache. Once the cavity gets to the middle of the tooth where the nerve of the tooth lies, you may require root canal treatment (where the whole nerve and its infected substances are removed) to adequately treat the infection. In order to control this infectious disease we must


1. Reduce intake of sugars/refined carbohydrates and reduce the length of time our mouth is exposed to these substances. If eating a snack, eat it quickly, do not suck on it or let it dissolve in your mouth over a period of time.


2. Reduce levels of plaque in our mouths by brushing our teeth twice a day and flossing every night.


3. Use appropriate fluoride products to strengthen teeth against acid damage. Such as the use of fluoridated toothpaste and drinking fluoridated water (Canberra tap water)


4. Maintain hydrated with sufficient water so we have plenty of saliva. Saliva protects our teeth by remineralising and washing food off. Need to consume at least 2 Litres of plain water a day

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