Dental caries is a very aggressive disease that gradually destroys the entire tooth. If left untreated, it can affect overall health. The mouth harbours countless bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, some can attack the teeth. Combined with the saliva and food debris, these bacteria accumulate on the enamel to form plaque. They also produce an acid which softens the enamel and destroys the tooth. Plaque must therefore be removed as quickly as possible by brushing (ideally after each meal) and flossing (once a day). Diet plays a major role in cavity formation. The sweeter the food, the more it fosters the formation of caries. A few simple tips:
You don’t have to cut back completely, but try to limit your intake of soft drinks, fruit juices, candies, desserts and so on.
Chew sugar-free gum.
If you snack between meals, brush your teeth or chew sugar-free gum. Chewing gum activates the saliva and helps remineralize your teeth.
Brush your teeth after eating sweet and/or sticky foods.
The first signs of tooth decay are usually painless. Without a dental examination, tooth decay can go unnoticed.
Make an appointment at least once a year for a check-up and cleaning.
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Article written with Julie Plamondon, a Lapointe Dental Centre dental surgeon