What is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay damages your teeth and leads to fillings or even extractions.
Decay happens when sugar reacts with the bacteria in plaque. This forms the acids that attack the teeth and destroy the enamel of the teeth. After this happens many times, the tooth enamel breaks down forming a hole or ‘cavity’ in the tooth.
All sugars can cause decay. Many processed foods have sugar in them, and the higher up it appears in the list of ingredients, the more sugar there is in the product.
When you are reading the labels remember that ‘no added sugar’ does not necessarily mean that the product is sugar free. It simply means that no extra sugar has been added.
Acidic food and drinks can also cause decay. The lower the pH number; the more acidic the product. Anything with a pH value lower than 5.5 may cause tooth decay.
It is better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day instead of having 7 to 10 snack attacks.
Can I Eat Sweets?
The main point to remember is that it is not the amount of sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it. Sweet foods are allowed, but it is important to keep them to mealtimes.
To help reduce tooth decay, cut down on HOW OFTEN you have sugary SNACKS and drinks and try to sugar-free varieties confectionery and sugar free chewing gum. This produces more saliva, which helps to cancel out the acid in your mouth after eating or drinking.
Should I brush my teeth after every meal?
It is important that you brush twice a day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. The best times are before breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed.
Eating and drinking naturally weakens the enamel on your teeth, and brushing straight afterwards can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. It is best not to brush your teeth until at least one hour after eating.
It is especially important to brush before bed. This is because the flow of saliva, which is the mouth’s own cleaning system, slows down during the night and this leaves the mouth more at risk from decay.