5 Signs of Tooth Decay and How to Prevent it

5 Signs of Tooth Decay and How to Prevent it

We are all aware of the importance of brushing our teeth to remove plaque and the effect that sugary food and drinks can have on our teeth, but is tooth decay something we should worry about?

So in short, yes. Tooth decay is a common disease which occurs when your tooth’s enamel is damaged, causing holes to appear in your teeth.

Although oral health is improving in England almost a quarter (24.7%) of 5-year-olds have tooth decay, so 1 in 4 children will have tooth decay when they start school Public Health England


What are the causes of tooth decay?

Tooth decay begins when plaque is allowed to build upon the teeth. When combined with sugary food and drink the acid in the plaque begins to break down the surface of the tooth. This leads to holes (cavities) in the tooth.   

If left untreated the acid will continue to break down the tooth, eventually reaching the centre of the tooth, which is home to the tooth’s nerve. At this point, your tooth will become painful and very sensitive.


5 Symptoms of tooth decay:

  • Toothache
  • Sensitivity
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Black spots


Treatment for tooth decay

While there is no cure for tooth decay there are treatment options depending on the extent of the decay.

In the early stages of tooth decay, fluoride gel may be used to re-strengthen the enamel.

Any holes caused by tooth decay can usually be filled or by the use of a dental crown.

If the extent of the tooth’s damage means the cavities cannot be filled, the tooth will need to be removed and replaced by either a denture or dental implant.

In extreme cases in which the tooth decay has spread to the tooth’s centre and affected the tooth’s nerve are likely to need a root canal procedure.


How to prevent tooth decay

  1. Brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing for around 2 minutes 2 times a day will help to eliminate the buildup of plaque.
  2. Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash.  Fluoride is known to prevent tooth decay. Look for toothpaste containing 1350-1500ppm fluoride.
  3. Floss daily to remove anything from in between your teeth. It is important to remove anything that brushing may have missed.
  4. Eat healthily and avoid surgery foods and drinks.
  5. Have regular check-ups at the dentist for a professional cleaning. They can spot any initial signs of tooth decay.


If you think you have any signs of tooth decay it is important to visit your dentist as soon as possible in order to catch and treat the disease before it becomes more serious.


Contact the friendly team at Green Square Dental today to book your check up on 01709 917 666 or pop by the practice. Available to patients living in Rotherham, Sheffield, Doncaster and surrounding areas.

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