Tooth Decay and Enamel Erosion – Tips for Prevention

12 / 07 / 2021

Tooth decay (dental caries) and enamel erosion are two common yet preventable issues seen by dentists. People of all ages can experience tooth decay, but those who consume a diet high in sugary and acidic foods are at a greater risk. This is because the bacteria within your mouth feed off the sugars and starches, producing acid and breaking down the protective layer of enamel in the process.  You have no doubt heard your dentist tell you that prevention is better than a cure, and by looking after your oral health you can minimise your risk of experiencing tooth decay and other issues.


How does Tooth Decay and Enamel Erosion Occur?

There is a diverse range of bacteria inside the mouth and throat. Some of this bacteria is beneficial for digestion and helps to manage bad bacteria to keep your teeth and gums healthy. However, those who do not practice good oral hygiene will find they have an elevated level of bad bacteria. Plaque will then begin to build up and produce acid following food/beverage consumption. The acid weakens the enamel and contributes to the development of cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease.


What Can Enamel Erosion Lead To?

If your teeth are regularly subjected to acid attacks, you will start to experience enamel mineral loss. Not only can this affect the appearance of your teeth (discolouration, shape, prone to dents/chips), it can also lead to tooth sensitivity and make teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.


Tips for Preventing Tooth Decay and Enamel Erosion

The best way to reduce your risk of experiencing tooth decay is to simply brush and floss twice daily and ensure you visit your dentist for a routine check-up every 6 months. It is also a good idea to use an alcohol-free mouthwash to eliminate bad bacteria. Flossing is particularly important, as food particles can remain between your teeth.

Dentists also recommend the following:


  • Reduce consumption of sugary/starchy foods and beveragesBacteria feed off the sugars and starches left behind. Try to limit consumption and always ensure that you brush your teeth regularly to help maintain a healthy level of bacteria.
  • Parents of young children should also pay close attention to their child’s diet and oral hygiene practices, as baby teeth are soft and typically have a thinner layer of enamel.
  • Quit tobacco use – cigarette smoke and toxins in tobacco make it harder for your body to fight infection and can also increase your risk of severe gum disease, which may result in tooth loss.
  • Hydrate regularly – keeping your mouth moist is important, as this will aid in the removal of food particles and bacteria on the surface of your teeth. Those who suffer from dry mouth will have an elevated level of bacteria, and their saliva will be more acidic. Ensure that you drink plenty of water to keep the mouth moist, and consider using sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva.


Experiencing Tooth Pain or Due for a Check-Up? Don’t Delay, Visit Big Smiles Dental Today

Pain in a tooth is a sign of inflammation, which suggests the possibility of infection or decay. If you are experiencing pain, or if you are due for a routine check-up, please call Big Smiles Dental on (02) 9921 1799 to book an appointment. We look forward to seeing you at our Little Bay dental clinic soon.